2017 Budget retains our pro-poor commitment

Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the signing of the 2017 State Budget at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, on Tuesday, 13th December 2016

 

PROTOCOLS

It is with utmost delight that I welcome you to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House this morning. Our purpose today is to sign the 2017 Budget that was passed by the Kaduna State House of Assembly on 1st December 2016. It is worth noting that our legislature is the first to pass an appropriation bill into law for the next fiscal year.

This feat is the product of hard and diligent policy work, and cooperation across the government. We signed the 2016 Budget on 22 December 2015. We have done better this year by presenting our draft estimates on 12th October and getting the 2017 Budget passed and signed faster. I hope that this marks the institutionalization in Kaduna State of a disciplined budget process that aligns the fiscal and calendar years.

The 2017 Budget size is N214.921bn, made up of N83.46bn in recurrent spending and N131.45bn in capital expenditure. This is a capital to recurrent ratio of 61:39. This budget is deliberately structured to be expansionary, rising from the N172bn approved for 2016, precisely because we need to increase spending in a recession.

The budget retains our commitment to pro-poor programmes that directly address our commitment to improving access to education, healthcare, infrastructure, jobs and security. It puts the needs and interests of our people first. In 2017, Kaduna State will spend N44.84bn on Education; N10.49bn on Health; N24.50bn on Infrastructure and N8.1bn on Water. Agriculture, one of our areas of comparative advantage, will get N4.58bn.

All these investments are meant to ensure that in 2017, we deliver the Zaria Water project, begin a school rebuilding and equipment programme that is unprecedented in the history of the state; complete the refitting of 278 primary health centres and hospitals and improve our investment profile and job-creation capacity with the establishment of an agro-industrial zone. In addition, we will expand our programme to rebuild and maintain township roads and kick-off the first phase of the Kaduna mass transit scheme. An Emergency Nutrition Intervention Programme to reduce malnutrition and hunger amongst our poorest citizens and children will also be implemented.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to commend the honourable members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly for the thoroughness of their efforts in passing the budget. Our legislators actually reduced the draft estimates we presented by N1bn when the temptation might have been to pad it. We welcome their commitment to a partnership in the interest of our people, and the hard work they have demonstrated in passing 20 laws in 19 months. The B+ Fitch Ratings Kaduna State recently got owes a lot to the policy and legal framework created by legislation such as the Tax Codification, Public Procurement, Fiscal Responsibility and Public Finance Management laws.

I wish to inform our legislators that we shall be submitting a Supplementary Budget to enable us capture the debt refunds we have just received from the Federal Government. Fifty-five percent of these funds belong to the state government, and the balance is for the local governments. We propose to apply 50% of the funds to settling the inherited arrears of gratuity and death benefits for state and local government workers. Some of these unpaid arrears date from as far back as 2010. Mr. Dan Ndackson, the Executive Secretary of the Bureau of Pension, has done a great job of sorting out these records and we will be ready to pay once the supplementary budget is passed. This is unprecedented, but we are happy to clear the problems created by those before us. The balance of the funds will be dedicated to rural and urban roads.

I wish to acknowledge the contributions that our Commissioners and heads of MDAs made to the budget process by abiding with the budget preparation schedule. Now that the budget has been signed, our MDAs are expected to be quicker with procurement processes so that in 2017 we can record vast improvements in the performance of the capital budget. This is of vital importance if the goals of the expansionary budget and the needs of our people are to be met.

We note that the retooling of our MDAs is continuing, with many departments now complying with their new, streamlined establishments. This ensures that MDAs carry optimal personnel and makes possible a service-wide refit and matching of personnel to skills and opportunities.

I am happy to inform you that I have received reports that the Judiciary is making great progress with the e-judiciary project. When completed, this project will make it unnecessary for our judges to take down court proceedings in long hand, making the lives of our judges easier and improving the pace of the administration of justice.

Permit me to conclude by thanking the Federal Government for its support to Kaduna State. We assure our investors that we will continue to improve the ease of doing business in Kaduna State. The 2017 budget contains items that reflect our increased investment in security and appropriate technology for deterring and detecting crimes, and enabling the prosecution of criminals.

Having laid the structural foundations in policy and legislation, restructured government to cut waste and redirected resources to serving the people, 2017 is the year to realize the many tenders, procurements and projects we have initiated. Our governance agenda is broad, but focused on providing public goods and enabling an environment to promote investments and job-creation. We have made steady progress on all these, and we are on course to achieve more.

Mr. Speaker, honorable members of the State House of Assembly, and the Executive Council, let us continue to work together to make Kaduna great again.

Thank you for listening.

 

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