Budgeting is an element of governance that provides guidance on how to raise funds and utilize it for the benefit of the people and society.
It could be said that the fundamental tasks required of the Government in preparing a budget is to ensure that resource allocation is prioritized in a manner that ensures that funds are made available where they are most required hence budgets are tools that the government employs to drive economic policies aimed at uplifting underprivileged sections of the society, mitigating disparity, facilitating financial inclusion, providing infrastructures, providing proper educational, health and housing facilities.
No doubt, this underscores the utmost importance Government attaches to the preparation, implementation, and monitoring of a well- planned budget.
No wonder,it is provided in the constitution that before the end of any financial year, the Governor must present the budget for the next year to the House of Assembly for consideration.
These were the views of the State Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development,Hon Muhammad Gambo Magaji who added that the forum is where the representatives of the general public and non- governmental organizations, traditional/ religious leaders, women and trade associations could discuss about the projects/ activities that needs to be reflected in the annual budget which would represent the interest of the general public.
The Commissioner Magaji therefore noted that the citizens” participation in the budget process was the world best practice and that was why the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in collaboration with the Budget, Planning and Development Partner Coordination Office was intensifying efforts towards institutionalizing a robust budget system by keying in into the world best practice.
He assured the participants that the Gombe State Government would pay attention to the inputs made in the meeting with a view to ensuring that what people want is what is in the 2021 budget proposal and expressed appreciation to the Governor for his unflinching support and cooperation in the efforts to serve the good people of Gombe State through the preparation of the people’s budget in 2021.
Declaring the One- Day Town Hall Meeting with relevant stakeholders and civil society on Tuesday,17th November,2020, in Gombe, the Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya explained that the citizens in his administration would continue to be the centre piece of his administration.
He further said the decision to organise the second edition of the stakeholders meeting on budget preparation followed the successes recorded in the 2020 budget, stressing that the appropriations Act which placed emphasis on change has significantly transformed the State more than what his administration inherited.
According to him, “last year around this time we had this engagement but prior to that interface, there was never such an engagement in Gombe State and that, we did in order to have face- to -face discussions with the local people such as district and village heads, trade unions, artisans and members of civil society to share ideas and make inputs into the budgetary process”.
The Governor noted that budgetary processes are a basic guide on which a society is governed and provides the means by which the performance of Government is gauged, saying his administration would leverage on the input of stakeholders at the meeting to provide basic needs of the people and place the state above its counterparts.
He further explained that last year’s budget was originally put at 131 billion Naira but that due to the covid-19 Pandemic it was reviewed to 107 billion, adding that inspite of global economic crunch, the budget performance of the State stands at 62.5 percent, expressing the hope that in a month’s time, the performance index would have greatly increased as more people- oriented projects are ongoing while others are being initiated and completed.
He also revealed that this year’s budget would fall around one hundred and sixteen to one hundred and twenty billion and is expected to target on the five pillars of his administration which includes Education, Health, Agriculture, Infrastructure development and Security.
The Governor said that considering the importance of development planning to the growth and development of any society, his administration is working to produce the 10-year Development Plan( 2020-2030) that would guide the State in her march to greatness.
“If we are able to work hard and achieve the content of our development plan, I believe at the end of the day not only us but our children and grandchildren will eventually enjoy the hard work we are all doing today”.
The Governor expressed his appreciation to UNDP, the SDGs office, the Federal Ministry of Finance ,Budget and National Planning, as well as the academia for providing guidance to the government towards developing the 2020-2030 plan for the State.
He said inspite of the covid-19 Pandemic, the State remains stable, adding that his administration would continue to maintain focus towards the goal of repositioning the State for better service delivery to all irrespective of political inclination.
The Governor said his administration would continue to find innovative ways to manage finances in view of the paucity of funds the State grapples with and the depletion of national revenue generated from oil.
He said the time has come for the State to look inward on ways to finance the budget as over reliance on the federation account for the State allocation is no longer tenable.
The speaker Gombe State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sadiq Ibrahim Kurba expressed appreciation to the Governor for initiating the stakeholders’ meeting on budget preparation for the State and promised that the House under his leadership would give speedy passage to the budget when transmitted to the legislature.
In his welcome remarks, the Special Adviser on Budget Planning and Development Partners Coordination, Dr. Ishaku Mohammed said the stakeholders’ meeting on budget preparation was a clear demonstration of the Governor’s disposition to transparency and accountability in governance.
Also in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Budget, Planning and Development Partner Coordination, Alhaji Jalo I. Ali disclosed that the 2021 budget would focused on the health, agriculture, education, social service and infrastructure.
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