Home » » (OPINION) Proposed 2016 budget a watershed for Benue By Morgan Adikwu

(OPINION) Proposed 2016 budget a watershed for Benue By Morgan Adikwu

Written By Idoma Television on Friday, January 1, 2016 | 1:37:00 PM

A budget is a financial statement of the total estimated revenue and the proposed expenditure of government in a given period, usually a year. 

The outlined money in the budget that will be available to the government after it has been appropriated into law, has a plan of how it will be spent over the period stated. It is within this premise, that Governor Samuel Ortom presented a proposed budget estimates of #133,394,092,610:00 only for the year 2016, entitled budget of Trust, Confidence and Credibility.
The 2016 proposed document is a total departure from the past budgeting system in Benue State. The past budget had not been able to address the challenges and development debacle in the State. The failures of the past budget, is not just implementation but it is also not well planned and people oriented to address the addressable issues; unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, infrastructural decay, insecurity, incessant industrial conflicts etc.

Corruption, insincerity of purpose and leadership ineptitude characterized the previous administration, in it's budgeting system 

For instance, One of the the of the assumption of the 2015 budget as projected by the Suswam's administration was that, "salaries and wages of the employees of government will remain constant in the fiscal year 2015, but Suswam refused to pay workers. It also stated in that budget that "no new employment in the civil and public service of the State in 2015, but embarked on illegal recruitment on the eve of his departure to incite people against the government in a calculated attempt to frustrate the present administration.

Also worrisome in the previous budget, is the corruptive tendency that was so pervasive in the implementation of the budget. A cursory perusal of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 budget unveiled a shocking revelation. This is a scenario where a particular items kept reflecting without execution. For instance, the construction of Oshigbudu-Obagaji road in 2013 #700m was allocated, 2014 on said same road, #550m was budgeted while in 2015, it was #300m. In Otukpo-Utonkon-Igumale road in 2013, #962,086,133 was allocated, in 2014, it was #419,735,178 while 2015, #620m yet nothing was done on the mentioned roads, and this cut across all the sector of the economy. The monies appropriated "expended" and the projects non available. 

It was in furtherance to the above, taking recognizance of the pitfalls of the budgeting system in Benue, that governor Samuel Ortom projected the total sum of #133,394,092,610, with a proposed recurrent expenditure of #65,961,996,470 while capital expenditure #67,432,096,140 only for 2016. The said total sum is sub structured into Administrative sector to gulp #21,963,948,200. This sector is expected to promote civil servants welfare, housing scheme on owners occupiers basis, addresses problems associated with pension etc.

The Economic sector is allocated #58,382,304,240, to cover the roads, electrification, agriculture, industrialization to generate employment. On law and justice, the total sum of #2,969,111,800, is budgeted for maintenance of law and order. Also, on the Regional sector that covers issues relating to Land mass of the State, communal clashes, the sum of #753,900,000 is allocated while the Social sector is given #49,324,828,370 to handle qualitative education, where. 6,000 secondary school teachers and 10,000 primary school teachers will be trained, 400 primary schools renovated and new classrooms build while 44 secondary schools renovated. The welfare of teachers will be improved and prioritized. Also within this sector, is the issues of women, youth, sport and people with disability, Health and the establishment of Benue Information Technology Development Agency( BITDA) etc.

The 2016 proposed budget is a different of its kind in Benue State since the return to democracy. The document is well projected to engender the much awaited change and it is a paradigm shift from the doldrums of the "feeding bottle federalism", whose adverse effects is relegating Benue State to a non viable State. Though, the proposed budget takes into account, the fiscal risk management but it is very optimistic of the strengthened efforts of the machinery of the Internal Revenue Generation in the State in 2016.

With the political will demonstrated so far by Governor Samuel Ortom couple with his core values of Transparency, Accountability and Zero tolerance to corruption, l am very optimistic that, the proposed 2016 budget, if pass into law, will change the course of tide in the State. With this said document, the year 2016 is our (Benue) year of hope and our long awaited expectations will be met.

Wish you a happy new year!
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