A close look at Niger State 2018 budget

(Sponsored by Niger State Ministry of Planning and Budget)

By Ndama Abubakar and Muhammad Hadi Pandogari

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Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello

On March 21, 2018, Gov Abubakar Sani Bello signed into law the People’s Budget. The budget is so-called because it was engineered based on the “expressed needs of the people.” The 2018 budget is markedly different from the ones before it because the needs expressed in it were gleaned from the governor’s oversight and mid-term assessment tour of local governments in Niger State in 2017 and early part of 2018. Consequently, the budget is demand-driven, said the governor in the budget presentation at the Niger State House of Assembly, “based on community participation, inclusiveness and responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of the people.”

This year’s budget is a lump sum of N134, 286, 425, 019.00, bifurcated into two expenditure outflows – recurrent and capital – each amounting to N53, 244, 216, 434.00 and N81, 042, 208, 585.00 respectively. The recurrent and capital items take unequal slice of the budget, with the former taking up over 39 per cent and the latter nearly 60 per cent. It took some eight months to engineer the budget, beginning with the screening of the MDAs’ proposed budget packages, a process superintended by Niger State Ministry for Budget and Planning. On December 14, 2018, the state governor, Alh (Dr) Abubakar Sani Bello, placed the eventual product from this exercise before the Niger State House of Assembly for scrutiny, amendment and legislation.

Budget assumptions

The budget signed into law was based on the following assumptions – always variable or volatile:

  • Oil production benchmark of 2.30m daily production
  • Oil price benchmark of $43 per barrel
  • Exchange rate of US dollar to Naira at N305
  • National inflation rate at 12.50
  • National real GDP growth at 3.50 per cent
  • The Value Added Tax (VAT) was based on three year moving average
  • The Internally Generated Revenue was based on ongoing reform at Niger State Internal Revenue Service
  • Refund from Paris Club based on the expected next tranche of refund to the state
  • Refund from pension Fund Administrators based on expected refund of counterpart state contribution for civil servants now exempted from the Contributory Pension Scheme.
  • Capital receipts based on expected revenue from development partners

Brief look at 2017 budget

A cursory look at 2017 activities gives cause for cheerin outlook for 2018. In the area of industry, for example, many unemployed graduates and school leavers were removed from idleness and destitution to work at different civil service institutions. The state government recruited 250 graduates, 10 each from the 25 local government areas in the state while another 150 were recruited as firemen into the state Fire Service. Another 150 were engaged as professional teachers to reduce the manpower shortages in professional teaching staff handling core subjects in secondary schools. It was also good news for the health sector, where a total of 320 health workers were employed to enhance health care delivery services. To empower youths for a life of self-sustenance, the state government trained over 3, 000 youths in various skills, in such divergent areas as ICT, green-house agricultural technology, rice milling and poultry production. This year, to close the yawning manpower gaps in the state civil service, the state government plans massive recruitment of 2, 000 fresh graduates to man various need areas in the state MDAs.

Building upon 2017 gains

Budgets are building blocks; consequently, the plans and destinations contained in 2018 budget build upon the achievements of the preceding year in the following ways:

Agriculture and Rural Development

Last year, the state government notched various achievements in the sector, such as the establishment of three Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise Centres, equipped with tractors and implements while 50 threshers and five units of power tillers were procured.The government also established pilot Shea tree and oil palm plantations in Shakwatu, including pilot ginger farms in Tegina and 15 other locations in the state. While training equipment were purchased and distributed among the Farm Institutes in the state to train youths in modern farming, over 500 youths were trained in ‘agripreneur,’ that is,in investment in agriculture and allied enterprises. So much was achieved

In 2018, the state government will clear 2, 000 hectares of land under the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme and increase the number of agricultural equipment hiring centres to 15. It will rehabilitate various irrigation schemes, buy more equipment for distribution to Farm Centres at Tegina, Kuta, Nasko, and Bida under the state Agricultural Empowerment Programme.

Infrastructure and Transport subsector

In 2017, the government directed efforts at construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads in the state – in Minna, Bida, Kontagora, Suleja, and Agaie. It also embarked on the rehabilitation/maintenance of federal roads in the state, such as Tegina – Birnin Gwari – Kaduna road, Zungeu – Tegina road, Minna – Diko road and the repairs of Lioji Bridge. It strengthened the state Roads Maintenance Agency by acquiring more plants, equipment and machinery for it and building and equipping new fire service stations at Mokwa, Lapai, Bida, Minna, Suleja, Komtagora, and Agaie.

In 2018, the government will pursue the completion of all on-going road projects, including the rehabilitation of more township roads in Minna, for which N1.9bn has been budgeted. Some 17 other township roads will be rehabilitated.

 In the energy subsector, the sum of N900m has been provided for the electrification of various communities, including the provision of transformers at Doko to Mambe, Edokota to Etsu Audu, and Bokani and environs, Sahon Rami, Garatu, and Gwam.

The 11kva lines in Bida will be upgraded to 33kva.

Water supply and Sanitation

                In pursuit of its determination to end water scarcity in the cities, the government procured and installed 12 complete pumps and accessories at Chanchaga Water Works in Minna and improved reticulation to boost water supply in the city. The abandoned water projects in Lambata, Lapai, Agaie, and Katcha were resuscitated in 2017.

                In 2018, the government earmarked the sum of N3.725b to rehabilitate water works in Kontagora, Bida, and Suleja. Provision was also made to rehabilitate Bi-Water supply schemes at Dabban, Matandi, Ibeto, Edozhigi, Salka, and Auna at the cost of N42.6m. A feasibility study will be commissioned on the construction of a new dam in Minna while 100 solar-powered and 200 hand pump boreholes will be drilled in some rural communities.

Education

Last year, the government continued its Whole School Development Approach (WSDA), under which nine post-primary schools were renovated completely and furnished; however, the stellar development in the sector was the commissioning of Niger State Teachers Professional Development Institute, at Dandaudu, an innovative and revolutionary scheme to provide quality, professional teachers in the state primary schools and lay a solid foundation for the succeeding tiers of education. This year, similar institutes will come on stream at Agaie, and Nassarawa-Kainji.

At IBB University, Lapai, the NUC accredited 11 programmes, and in 2018, key government actions in the sector will include the continuation of Whole School Development Approach, support to tertiary institutions to achieve accreditation of their programmes, and renovation of and provision of requisite equipment in six vocational, science, and technical schools in Bida, Suleja, Kontagora, Jebba, Rijau, and Minna. The first phase of the renovation programme will cost N2.5b, while the provision of equipment will cost N100m, the aim being to encourage the teaching and learning of science, vocational and technical education. The second phase of the WSDA will embrace Ahmadu Bahago Secondary School, Minna, Government Day SecondarySchool, Minna, Government Day Secondary School, Ibbi, Ndayako Day Secondary School, Bida, Government Girls Day Secondary School, Lapai, and UBE Model Secondary School, Kontagora, at the cost of N1.9b.

Health

In line with the government focus of strengthening Primary Health Care facilities (PHC) in the state, 40 PHCs will be renovated and equipped across the state in 2018. The renovation of Suleja and Kontagora General Hospitals will be undertaken at the cost of N1.5b and N1.4b respectively. In addition to supporting them to achieve the accreditation of their programmes, the renovation works at School of Nursing, Bida, and School of Midwifery, Minna, will be completed at the contract sums of N290m and 187m respectively. The sum of N300m is allocated for further construction works at the School of Nursing, Kontagora.

In 2018, the state government will commence the implementation of the State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme for all Nigerlites.

                Finally, in administrative sector, the Old and New Secretariat complexes will be rehabilitated to provide stimulating working environment for the state workers. The provision of office equipment and furniture will also be accorded top priority. To be renovated also are the state liaison offices at Kaduna, Abuja, and Lagos. New equipment will also be purchased for the Government Printing Press.

TAURARUWA