Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Kogi 2017 budget : Final rape of Kogi common patrimony – Dino Melaye

If the revelations obtained from the analytical breakdown of Kogi state 2017 budget is anything to go by, then Governor Bello’s administrative policy should best be seen as an economic vampire aimed at draining the state and ushering it to economic desert while emptying the state of its treasury ban.
The appropriation bill which was presented sometimes in December, 2016 by Governor Bello has since attracted plethora of allegations by concerned Kogites and experts who could not watch the broad daylight rape on Kogi state’s collective patrimony.

Having personally x-rayed the budget in view of its symmetrical and disparity with 2016 budget as well as the economic impact of the budget on the people of Kogi state considering the phony and unjustifiable allocations allegedly inputted into the budget for selfish benefits of the people behind the budget it, I consider it germane to lend my voice and make known the result of my weeklong research.

 The Kogi state 2017 budget was estimated at One Hundred and Seventy Four Billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty one Million, Five hundred and forty four Thousand, five hundred and twenty three naira (N174,851,544,523) as against the 2016 budget which stood at N99,998,674,261.
While the 2017 budget is higher than 2016’s with over 75 Billion Naira despite the biting economic recession rocking the land, the breakdown of the budget showed that, the recurrent expenditure stands at N58,531,404,254 representing 33.47% and capital expenditure of the budget stands at N116,320,140,269 resenting 66.53%. These figures as invitingly as they may appear, are however, embellished budgeting system that appears to have failed on arrival. It is void of economic logic and lack the propensity for the needed prosperity.

 At the presentation of the 2017 appropriation bill, Governor Bello in a speech to glamourize the over bloated document said “The preparation of this budget was guided by the harmonization of MDAs’ policy thrusts in line with New Direction Blueprint and actual appropriation to ensure that we have a Budget that meets the aspiration of the majority of the people in 2017.”
According to the governor, “Directing capital expenditure on critical infrastructure with special emphasis on the five thematic areas in The New Direction Blueprint, viz: Education, Health, Job Creation and Youth Engagement, Infrastructure and Utilities and Public Sector and Pension Reforms,” the governor said while presenting the budget to the members of Kogi state House of Assembly.

However, the 2017 budget which was tagged the Budget of New Direction appears to have been prepared by confused minds whose demented cranial contents showed their affinity for monetary gain and it is a clear testament of the poverty driven and hardship attracting policy of the present administration in Kogi state. It is the budget of the rich elites.
In what appears to be a total deviation from what the so-called New Direction blue print policy stands for, a close and diligent look into the allocation pattern of 2017 shows that, neither education nor health was the government’s cardinal priority. Agricultural sector was not also at the centre of the Bello led administration despite the need to diversify the economy as part of measures to cushion the vacillation of the oil price whose impact the country has not recovered.

With the heightened level of poverty in the land allegedly necessitated by unpaid salaries of deserved state workforce, heartless Bello budgeted total of over 24.9 Billion for the running of Luggard House, making it 14% of the total budget but In 2016 budget,However, estimated 7.6 billion was allocated to the ministry of agriculture in 2017 which stands at 4% of the entire budget yet the government is still deceiving the masses of prioritizing agriculture. This 4% allocation for the ministry of agriculture is far below the required 10% bench mark of the Maputo Declaration which mandates Federal and state government to allocate 10% of its yearly budget for the agric sector.

While Governor Bello has budgeted 50 Million Naira for his overseas treatment, a crystal look into the budget of the state’s ministry of health showed that, there was zero allocation for the purchase of Mammography Machine with Autopsy Facilities even when it was requested for in the budget.

 Mammography Machine plays keen role in x-raying breast for proper medical examination. Meanwhile, Governor Bello also allocated another 50 million for his Local Medical expenses in the same land where medial workers are always on strike for unpaid wages and public hospitals are grossly ill equipped.

Governor Bello earmarked a whooping sum of 250 Million Naira to buy Office stationery and Computer Accessories despite buying the same equipments in 2016 budget with over 169 Million Naira. This is even when majority of the public secondary and primary schools in Kogi state do not have access to functional computers. Bello’s government is squander- maniac in all respect.

Still in 2017 budget, Bello voted 100 Million Naira for an unspecified international training for the government House and another outrageous 100 Million Naira for the fumigation of Luggard House. This is when some Kogites cannot boast of eating once per day due to the poverty driven policy of the present administration in Kogi state.

In the budget under review, in three places, allocations were respectively made for Luggard House security with different nomenclature. While 100 Million was allocated for Security services in the Government House, another 350 Million Naira was also allocated for a fraudulent special Security Expenses for the same Luggard House while 8 Billion naira was voted as Bello’s Security Vote different from the other ones earlier stated. This is even when the state has not been declared as a war zone state. The security vote for 2016 budget was 4.3 Billion. In Bello, we have a wasteful direction.