By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Kwara state Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak has presented a budget estimate of N162b for 2020, up from N157bn budget of the outgoing year.
Presenting the budget, tagged budget of “reconstruction and reformation”, on Wednesday before the state House of Assembly, AbdulRazak said “we propose 47% recurrent expenditure and 53% capital expenditure in a deliberate attempt to invest in the future and grow the economy through critical infrastructure and human capital development” adding that “one unique thing is that this budget is having an opening balance of N7b, or 4.3% of the budget proposal, that we have saved in the past seven months.”
Highlights of the budget, according to the Governor, include construction of Kwara State innovation hub to fire up the creative minds of our young people and prepare them for the realities of 21st century economy, large scale garment production factories, resuscitation of moribund industries, construction of new (urban and rural) roads, rehabilitation of public schools, capacity building for teachers for efficient service delivery, payment of UBEC contribution, rehabilitation of hospitals and health centres with provision of modern medical and laboratory equipment, and implementation of health insurance scheme.
In addition, he said his administration was proposing the construction of Ilorin Civic Centre (Ilorin Visual Art Centre), purchase of biometric finger prints and reader machines for e-auditing in line with our e-Government initiative, introduction of intervention fund for the youth and graduates empowerment, provision of statewide irrigation scheme, agricultural mechanisation, commencement of the livestock transformation plan programme, and implementation of the Kwara State Social Investment Programme to combat extreme poverty and support small businesses.
He said: “The budget proposal, I must add, also covers purchase of vehicle for political office holders and Honourable Members of the House, completion of the 500 seater hall building, rehabilitation of court rooms, rehabilitation of sporting facilities at the Stadium Complex Ilorin, construction of a twin Squash Court, interventions in the state-owned media, active promotion of culture and tourism, and much more.”
The Governor urged members of the House to continue to work with his team, as they have consistently been doing, to add value to the lives of our people, while also calling on “our compatriots that while we are ready to serve them to the best of our ability and within available resources, the situation of our state is such that all hands must be on deck to make all the necessary sacrifices in our collective effort to build a new Kwara that works for all”, pointing out that “we must be clear that we cannot build a viable state with the same mindset and attitude that brought us to this sorry pass.”
AbdilRazaq commended the House for its support to his administration since their assumption of office in May, while also lauding the people of Kwara State for “their courage that led to the success of the Otoge revolution in the 2019 elections”, adding that “whatever we may have achieved in these past seven months were definitely because of the support of this Honourable House and the good people of Kwara State.”
Fielding questions from journalists, Speaker Yakubu Danlad Salihu promised quick passage of the budget, but said that the House would be thorough even in doing so, adding that the House would give the Executive close marking to ensure that it fully implements the budget for the benefits of the electorate that voted them in. The present administration, he added, would walk his talk by ensuring the fulfilment “of our electoral promises to the electorate”, saying, in Kwara state, it’s no longer business as usual.