Infrastructure devt, social welfare top chart as Kwara Gov presents 2024 budget

• CAPEX takes 61% of budget, recurrent 39%

• Roads, housing, health, education, minimum wage in focus

• Gov to unveil 18,000 hectares Smart City project in new year

• Gov thanks Kwarans for support, promises more

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday laid before the parliament a N296.4bn fiscal plan for year 2024, with the capital expenditure guzzling a whopping 61% of the proposed spending and recurrents keeping the balance of 39%.

The budget is 15.5% higher than the budget of the outgoing year, and has an opening balance of N25bn, according to the Governor, who heralded his speech with “profound gratitude” to God, appreciation to the people of Kwara and his party, APC, for another win at the last general elections, and acknowledgement of the supportive role of the legislators.

Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi led the Governor’s entourage that also comprised top heads of statutory commissions, government officials; first class traditional rulers; security commanders; party elders; business executives; and citizens.

The budget session was presided over by the Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi-Salihu.

“I begin this budget speech with profound gratitude to Almighty Allah for His enduring mercies that again saw us through the recent electioneering process with yet another resounding 100% victory. I dedicate that victory and the success of our first tenure to the good people of Kwara State who walked with and trusted us with another mandate, and to you, members of this hallowed chamber, for your understanding, maturity, and love for our state,” the Governor said.

“Together in four years, we brought socioeconomic and political stability to our state and restored the dignity of the human person. We have redefined public education in human resource and infrastructure, basic healthcare delivery, social security, public service, rural development, sports and recreational development, while measurable steps have been taken to make Kwara a hub of innovation, creativity, and viable economic activities in Nigeria.

“The next four years will serve to consolidate on the gains of our first term, expand the economic base of this lovely state through completion of ongoing infrastructural projects and commencement of new ones, make the state more self-sustaining by widening the revenue base, create more private sector-driven jobs, and better the lots of our people. In the new year, we will formally inaugurate our flagship projects like the garment factory, visual arts centre, Tunde Idiagbon bridge, innovation hub, sugar film factory, the two campuses of Kwara State University, sheabutter factory in Kaiama, among others.

“These, in shaa Allaah, will create tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the new year, and spread collective prosperity on a sustainable basis.

“This is why next year’s fiscal document has been christened the budget of ‘economic expansion and collective prosperity’. The size of the budget is N296.4bn, with an opening balance of N25bn. The capital expenditure takes the lion share of N180.0bn, representing 61% of the total fiscal plan, while the recurrent component gets N116bn, or 39%.

“This fiscal plan will prioritise the completion and unveiling of several of our legacy projects, and introduction of a few other ones that centre around the welfare of the people. I am glad to inform this Honourable House that the Ilorin Capital City Master Plan will officially produce what we call Ilorin Smart City Satellite Town, which will cover an area estimated at 18,000 hectares. This city is modelled after sustainable, green cities around the world, such as Washington DC. The groundbreaking of this huge project will be done next year, God willing.

“Some other highlights include the establishment of the Kwara State University Teaching Hospital; Kwara State University of Education; completion of the first phase of the industrial park at Eiyenkorin; MSMEs Support Funds; rehabilitation of Ilesha Baruba Waterworks and others elsewhere in the state; construction of statewide rural access roads through RAAMP; rehabilitation of Isanlu Isin Waterworks and extension of pipes; rehabilitation of Pampo waterworks and extension of pipes, among others; construction of new wards and expansion of maternity unit at civil service clinic; expansion of 13 hospitals across the state; construction of 250 housing units under the proposed mass housing scheme of the State Government; construction of CBT Centres across the 3 districts; wholesale curriculum revitalisation and training under KwaraLearn; payment of UBEC counterpart funds for 2022 and 2023; and some sports facilities statewide.

“Also covered in this document is our preparation for a new minimum wage, which is due for negotiation next year, completion of KWIRS modern headquarters, among other things. We will also begin the implementation of life-changing programmes like the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), livestock development centre at Lata; special agroprocessing zone and L-PRES project, which seeks to provide infrastructure and the environment to curb the conflict between herders and farmers.

“This document is predicated on the estimated crude oil price of $77.96; daily oil production of 1.78million barrel per day; exchange rate of N750/USD; GDP growth projection of 3.76 percent; and 21.4% inflation rate.

“Further details on the budget estimates are contained in the full version of the fiscal plan, which would be issued later.

“The budget will be funded from an assortment of sources, especially the internally generated revenue and receipts from the federation accounts, among other channels.”

Danladi-Salihu, for his part, said the Governor did so well in his first term to deserve the popular mandate he got to govern the state for another four years.

He said the legislature will peruse the budget and act in accordance with the public good.

“Let me acknowledge and commend Your Excellency for transparency, accountability, and fiscal discipline exhibited in the implementation of the budget in outgoing year 2023,” he said.

“It is on record that this administration has completed many people oriented projects in all parts of the state as captured in the budget. The desire is to consolidate on the modest achievements recorded during your first term seems to be on course, considering the religious pursuit of the overall development of the state that has come to be a cordial objective of your administration since your second coming.

“I feel fulfilled with the magnitude of completed projects, ongoing projects, and others nearing completion.

“It is also noteworthy and commendable that Your Excellency has sustained the zeal with which you resuscitated the fulfillment of the state to counterpart funds in all sectors. The result of these is visible to every Kwaran to energise sectors such as basic education, rural roads, water supply and sanitation, health and many others that were almost dead before you came on board and have since experienced a rebirth as the people of the state now have a new lease of life.

“It is my hope that the year 2024 appropriation bill contains realistic projections both on revenue and expenditure that all critical sectors of the economy are accorded adequate attention. It is only by doing this that the administration will consolidate on the achievements recorded in the first four years.”

He assured the Governor of the readiness of the House to work round the clock to ensure timely passage of the budget after thorough legislative scrutinies.

Rafiu Ajakaye

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

December 14, 2023

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