By Ismaila Uba Misilli
It is against the sobering backdrop of the challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unwavering commitment and resilience to turn around the fortunes of Gombe state in line with his campaign promise to better the lots of the citizenry, that Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya laid before the state House of Assembly, the estimates and details of the 2021, tagged ‘budget of resilience’, which is geared towards consolidating the tremendous gains of the administration in the 2020 fiscal year.
In introducing the much awaited Budget of Resilience, Governor Inuwa Yahaya observed that “the challenging experiences we went through in the 2020 fiscal year will be used to sharpen our vision for the 2021 fiscal year and beyond. As we are all aware, the art of nation building is a collective responsibility, I therefore want to call on all of us to rededicate ourselves to the service of Gombe State as nobody will come and develop for us, other than ourselves’’, Noting that the 2021 budget was prepared with useful inputs gathered from the people of Gombe State, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Ten Year Development Plan (2020-2030).
The budget estimate is N119, 663 billion made up of N57.635 billion for recurrent expenditure which represents 48.2% of the total while proposed capital expenditure stands at N62. 026 billion representing 51.8% of the budget estimate.
The 2021 budget is expected to be funded with recurrent revenue estimated at N75. 293 billion naira and capital receipts estimated at N62.457 billion while the Governor also announced a closing balance which represents a healthy surplus engendered by the prudent fiscal policies of the state government.
The thrust of the 2021 budget is aimed at strengthening the economic sector as the positive results of investments in that critical sector provides the launch pad for the development of other sectors. The Economic Sector projects/programmes stimulate growth and development in the state which explains the state government’s prioritisation of that sector particularly the Agriculture and Livestock subsector.
Thus the budgetary allocations for the various sectors are as follows: Economic Sector N35.852 billion; the Social Sector N20.983billion, General Administration N3. 091 billion and Law and Justice N1. 371 billion.
A breakdown of the Social Sector allocations shows that the various sub-sectors under it have been allocated various sums in line with the avowed determination of the Inuwa Yahaya administration in ensuring that all strata of the state are carried along in the developmental amalgam. The Education sub-sector is allocated N6. 348 billion; Higher Education N3.592 billion; Health N5.549 billion; Youth and Sports N1. 055 billion; information and Culture N641 million; Women Affairs and Social Development N389 million; Local Government and Chieftaincy N138 million; Internal Security and Ethical Orientation N730 million.
The Economic Sector allocation has been distributed to various sub-sectors including Rural, Community Development and Co-operatives N2.127 billion; Works and Infrastructure N12.890 billion; Housing and Urban Development N3. 925 billion; Land and Survey N2.019 billion; Water Resources N1.8 billion; Environment and Forestry N3.22.billion; Science, Technology and innovation N377 million.
This epochal Budget of Resilience unveiled by the amiable Governor Inuwa Yahaya is meant to consolidate on the strides of his administration in the previous one and half years which have impacted positively on the lives of the Gombe people and is meant to raise the socio-economic tempo of the state in order to drive meaningful development at all sectoral levels.
While expressing his profound gratitude to the House for their continuous support towards the successful implementation of the previous 2020 budget in the face of unprecedented economic and social challenges, Governor Inuwa Yahaya emphasized that the avowed target of his administration is to restore the confidence of the people in government and put the state on a solid path of sustainable and inclusive development. ‘Even though faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain committed and unshaken in implementing projecta and programmes that touch the lives of the Gombe people’, Governor Yahaya reiterated .
While outlining the budget estimates and sectoral allocations, Governor Inuwa Yahaya also listed the expected gains of the 2021 budget to include deepening the provision of physical infrastructure, investing in human capital, enhancing investment in education, strengthening and implementing social protection policies, for vulnerable groups, poverty reduction and job creation for the teeming youths, promoting development partnership and trust, strengthening the health care system through the renovation, remodelling, construction, and equipping of health care facilities, pooling of skilled human resources and the implementation of universal health coverage through the recently established State Health Insurance Agency.
Other benefits accruing from the historic budget according to an ebullient Governor Inuwa Yahaya include the strengthening of investment in the crucial agricultural sector, strengthening rural and urban transformation initiatives, prioritizing ease of doing business, enhancing internally generated revenue performance, enhancing fiscal responsibility and transparency, strengthening the state security architecture for peace and stability, consolidating the gains achieved in public and financial sector reforms and addressing environmental challenges including the climate change phenomena.
In line with the proactive and fiscally prudent style of his administration, Governor Inuwa Yahaya also restated his resolve to clear up all abandoned projects spilling over from the past administration as well as ensuring strict fiscal probity and financial transparency in order to plug all loopholes and leakages that were a veritable conduit for the siphoning of public funds belonging to the Gombe State people. Thus the successful implementation and sterling performance of the 2021 budget rests as much on human resources as well as financial resources thus necessitating the Gombe chief executive’s clarion call on all and sundry to join hands in moving the state forward in all positive ramifications.
Throughout his budget presentation, Governor Inuwa Yahaya stressed consensus building, co-operation, mutual dialogue and steadfastness as qualities that must be thoroughly imbibed in order to ensure the success of the government’s policies and programs and on conclusion thanked all ‘the stakeholders, the leadership and membership of our great party, the APC, traditional and religious leaders, the political class, the civil society organizations, women and youth groups, our developmental partners (local and international), the media and the entire people of Gombe state for their support and understanding to the administration as we work towards the building of a new Gombe State where the needs of every citizen is considered. We shall therefore continue to remain unshaken in our determination towards improving the quality of lives of the people of Gombe State’, the Governor stressed.
Misilli is the Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Gombe state Governor