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Budget 2021 will enhance revenue projections, welfare in Borno

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Babagana Zulum. Photo; TWITTER/GOVBORNO

The Borno State Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Ahmed Lawan, has said the 2021-2023 Midterm Framework has ‘better and higher promises’ for enhanced revenue projections.

According to him, the three-year plan also has a better capacity to respond to people’s yearnings and aspirations.

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Speaking Thursday, at a town hall meeting held at the Government House, Maiduguri Lawan said the meeting was to interact with stakeholders on the fundamental issues of the state’s 2021 budgeting.

“This is one of the processes leading to the compilation of the draft Budget,” he said; adding that it includes a wide variety of aspirations and genuine people’s needs.

He noted that the meeting is a clear demonstration of Governor Babagana Zulum’s commitment to ensure that next year’s budget addresses various stakeholders’ expectations.

WHILE decrying poor budget performances, he said: “Our aspirations in the 2020 budget were largely compromised by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Crude oil price crashed to undermine our Federation Account Allocation revenue.”

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He added that Value Added Tax (VAT), and other revenue sources, were also affected by the economic meltdown caused by COVID-19, noting that all the fiscal policy indices were completely unturned to practically render revenue projections unattainable.

According to him, the 2020 Budget projection of N146.89 billion was revised to N108 billion, and the practical implication of this is that a number of projects and programmes suffered a lot of implementation challenges.
“I, therefore, urge you to bear with Zulum’s administration, as it reviews some of the affected projects for rollover to 2021,” as the meeting also provides an opportunity to package an inclusive and participatory budget with citizen-centred programmes.
 
He added, “The expectations may be even higher this year, because of the increased awareness of the citizenry and civil society organisations,” as they all participated in the budgeting process.

He recalled that last year’s Town Hall meeting was attended by over 500 participants with a cross-section of various stakeholders, who provided meaningful inputs that informed the choice of projects in the 2020 budget.
On budget implementations, he said: “The Department of Budget and Planning will be responsible for ensuring that all budgetary processes and procedures are strictly adhered to by Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”

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Among the stakeholders at the meeting were members of the state executive council (SEC), State House of Assembly, Chief Executive Officers of MDAs.

The State chapter of the National Council of Women Society (NCWS), represented by Yagana Alkali, said: “We lost many of our husbands, leaving behind tens of hundreds of orphans,” noting that the orphans could go to school during the over a decade Boko Haram insurgency.

He urged that women and children be included in the 2021 budget proposals, saying: “We needed to be empowered and become self-reliant, instead of depending on food stamps and other humanitarian assistance.”

Also, People Living with Disabilities (PLWD), led by Mohammed Abubakar, urged the State House of Assembly to pass the Disability Bill into law, while Comrade Bulama Abiso of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), called for strict adherence to all budgetary provisions that can impact more on people living conditions.

He noted that projects in this year’s budget were driven by various stakeholders and communities.

The Vice-Chairman of Maiduguri branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yahaya Dunoma, advised the government to adopt strategies and means to increase internally-generated revenues (IGR).

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