By Isa Kajuru, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai has signed into law the 2017 budget estimates amounting to N214bn.
The budget is made up of N83.46bn in recurrent spending and N131.45bn in capital expenditure with a capital to recurrent ratio of 61:39.
While signing the bill into law at the Government House, Kaduna, he also announced that the state has received the Paris Club refund from the Federal Government which he said would be used to clear six years pension, gratuity and death benefits of retired and dead workers in the state.
He said, “I wish to inform our legislators that we shall be submitting a Supplementary Budget to enable us capture the debt refunds we have just received from the Federal Government. Fifty-five percent of these funds belong to the state government, and the balance
is for the local governments.
“We propose to apply 50% of the funds to settling the inherited arrears of gratuity and death benefits for state and local government workers. Some of these unpaid arrears date from as far back as 2010.
“Mr. Dan Ndackson, the Executive Secretary of the Bureau of Pension, has done a great job of sorting out these records and we will be ready to pay once the supplementary budget is passed. This is unprecedented, but we are happy to clear the problems created by those before us. The balance of the funds will be dedicated to rural and urban roads.”
He said the budget was deliberately skewed rising from N172bn approved for 2016 because “we need to increase spending in a recession.”
In 2017 budget, the governor noted retained the pro-poor programmes which his administration was committed which he added include improving access to education, healthcare, infrastructure, jobs and security.
“It puts the needs and interests of our people first. In 2017, Kaduna State will spend N44.84bn on Education; N10.49bn on Health; N24.50bn on Infrastructure and N8.1bn on Water. Agriculture, one of our areas of comparative advantage, will get N4.58bn,” he said.
The Governor stressed that, “All these investments are meant to ensure that in 2017, we deliver the Zaria Water project, begin a school rebuilding and equipment programme that is unprecedented in the history of the state; complete the refitting of 278 primary health centres and hospitals and improve our investment profile and job-creation capacity with the
establishment of an agro-industrial zone.
“In addition, we will expand our programme to rebuild and maintain township roads and kick-off the first phase of the Kaduna mass transit scheme. An Emergency Nutrition Intervention Programme to reduce malnutrition and hunger amongst our poorest citizens and children will also be implemented.”