Rights group faults Kogi government on 2017 budget

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

The 2017 appropriation bill of Kogi state on Wednesday came under heavy criticism as a Non Governmental Organisation, the Centre for Human Rights and Conflicts Resolution, CHRCR described the document as lacking in “purposeful direction”.

The NGO noted that the bill as presented before the state house of assembly was incapable of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people and will therefore be unable to meet the much needed development in the state.

Governor Yahaya Bello, had on December 22, 2016 presented a N174 billion budget before the assembly members for consideration and approval.

The N174 billion has a capital expenditure of N116, 320 Billion representing 66.53 per cent and a recurrent expenditure of N58,531billion which gulped the remaining 33.47 per cent.

Reacting to the budget through a statement Wednesday, the Executive Director of the centre, Idris Miliki, noted that selective implementation of budget, late release of capital votes and disregard for appropriation laws, had been the norm particularly in Kogi State with the current government not exempted.

Miliki said the budget was too ambitious with the state government unable to spell out how it would finance it taking into consideration the paltry internally generated revenue available and the drastic drop in revenue from the federation account.

He also took a swipe on the N14 billion allocated to the Government House, office of the deputy governor, office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Head of Service and the ministry of finance saying it is both unrealistic and uncalled for.

He said, “On the 2017 budget, while the total capital expenditure is commendable, if diligently implemented, we are however worried about the sources of financing this huge and unrealistic budget taking cognisance of the level of internally generated revenue in the state.

“We are also worried and wonder why the new government has not deemed it fit to create new revenue generating institutions and establishment, particularly in the mining sector, where Kogi State has a comparative advantage with 29 mineral deposits in commercial quantities, above any other state in the country.

“It is disturbing that the government has estimated N24, 983,269,513, totalling 14 percent of the entire 2017 budget, to be squandered by the Government House, which is not a revenue generating institution. Also, the deputy governor’s would spend N884, 675,887; Head of Service Office will gulp N2, 563,857,059, Auditor general office N392, 018,549.

“The almighty SSG office will take N3, 900,337,260. The most disturbing is the State Ministry of Finance Headquarters that will spend N8, 755,071,709. All these agencies that have taken the largest chunk of the budget are non generating agencies.”

The organisation however called on the Assembly to organise a public hearing for citizens’ input into the budget before passage.

Efforts to reach the Director General, Media to the governor, Kingsley Fanwo were not successful.