Residents thumb down Kaduna’s 2016 budget
Residents have rated Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i very low in the implementation of Kaduna State 2016 budget, the News Agency of Nigeria [NAN] reports.
The residents, in separate interviews said the budget did not create the desired impact, particularly on the common man.
They particularly said that insecurity, lack of access to agricultural inputs by farmers and poor health services have continued to impact negatively on the lives of the people.
Rev. Sunday Ibrahim, the Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter, said in spite of the huge budget, people were dying of hunger due to inability to afford two square meals a day.
He added that the protracted insecurity in the state had scared people from their farms to avoid attack or kidnap.
According to him, a budget only makes sense when the poor have shelter, engage in economic generating ventures, have food on their table, can send their children to school, and move about freely without fear.
“This was not the case in Kaduna State in spite of the huge budget for 2016. ”
The scribe advised that whatever went wrong in the course of the budget implementation should be corrected in 2017.
Dr Auwal Aliyu, a politician, said there was a long time frame between the signing into law of the budget and its implementation.
According to him, the implementation process stated four months ago, adding that most infrastructure projects such as the township and intercity roads are ongoing.
Aliyu noted that most of the projects being undertaken by the government were between 20 to 30 per cent in execution level.
“If you ask the contractors why work is not moving since it is expected to have a time frame, they will tell you money is the problem, that they have not been paid for the jobs done.
“So you now ask yourself what happened to the money appropriated for this particular job, where has the money gone, why is the job not going according to plan.”
He also noted that various projects on schools renovation and equipping, as well as hospitals construction have suffered the same fate.
According to him, there has been no effectiveness and efficiency in the implementation of the budget.
Aliyu however gave the administration a pass mark in the area of security, noting that a lot has been done to address the issue.
“In the Birnin Gwari axis you have the cattle restlers and there is a proactive approach by joint task force from border states to tackle the issue.
“But in southern Kaduna, what is happening right now and considering what the two senators from the state are saying, the government is not being proactive.
“People still have very high expectations considering the way the government came in and who the governor is.
“People were expecting large infrastructure development and people are expecting Kaduna to be celebrated in terns of development, but it is not so.
“I will say that the government need to be very very proactive, they need to do more; so far i think people are not really impressed with the performance.”
A resident, Malam Jibril Junaidu, however gave the administration pass mark, saying it had embarked on series of projects especially township roads.
“If you look at the education sector this year, alot of contracts have been awarded for renovation, I think there are alot of development and it is appreciable.”
Junaidu said the administration needed to do more in the area of security, adding “we are not yet completely rid of the issues of security especially if you look at Birnin Gwari and Sourthern Kaduna axis”.
He also appreciated efforts made so far to complete the Zaria water project.
Mr Daniel Jamu, Chairman Cassava Farmers Association, expressed dismay that no palliative was given to farmers by the government during the year.
“We heard in the news that governments was going to give palliative to farmers this year, but throughout 2016 nothing was done, to the best on my knowledge, in this 2016 budget, nothing has been done.”
Jamu also complained that most farmers did not receive any fertilizer from government during the year.
“Fertiliser was not given to farmers and there was no subsidy, no loan given to anybody this year. No farmer is happy,” he claimed.
Jacob Dickson, a civil servant, also said the budget implementation was poor and had resulted in a lot of challenges.
“In agriculture I can say it is bad, because fertilizer scaled twice the price and it affected the price of crops like maize which have been harvested now but is still sold in the market at a higher price.
“The government should do something for the masses because people barely eat one square meal a day.”
He added that there is a mix achievement in security as the government was able to tackle cattle rustlers and kidnapping, but still has challenges in containing attacks in southern Kaduna.
Kabir Musa, a health worker said more needed to be done in the health sector especially in terms of provision of skilled personnel.
” I can say we have a mix achievement in the health sector but more needed to be done.
” The government came up with a good idea of the Kidney dialysis to subsidize for its citizens, but it is not effective.”
He also said the government needed to revisit the free treatment for pregnant women to reduce maternal mortality.
“In the health sector we have been giving free treatment to pregnant women, but it has stopped and I plead that the government should actively commit itself to raise life of citizens to enjoy quality health services.
” They should also train skilled traditional birth attendants since not all people in the rural areas have access to antenatal care, and also make pregnancy safer for women.
” The establishment of the PHCs which they have been shouting since they came to power should be considered, for proper health care delivery.”
Musa also advised the government to partner non governmental organisations offering free family planning and child spacing services.
” I want the government to also concentrate on child spacing, because this will reduce maternal and child mortality to the barest minimum.”
Mrs Amina Ladan, a business woman said the implementation of the budget is effective in road construction only.
“We can give the government kudos in road construction but even at that, they are limited to certain areas, not all places.”
She lamented that the intervention in the education sector had been stalled, including the school feeding programme which was abandoned barely three months after its introduction.
Some artisans also scored the implementation of the budget low, saying the challenges of poor water and power supply has not abated.
Amos Gambo, a dry cleaner, said water availability will greatly reduce the expenditure they incur in the course of running the business.
“We spend huge on water every month, governments should provide residents with water and power,” Gambo said.
Kelechi Uche, a welder, also complained of very low electricity supply, saying “70 percent of the problems of the country will be a thing of the past when power is provided”.
Samuel David, a barber, said he had to adjust prices charged customers due to epileptic power supply.
“Due to epileptic power supply prices have to be reviewed and customers lament anytime there is a change in price”.
Victor Anibe, a businessman, said the slow pace of implementation of the budget had affected business activities in the state.
“Everything have become worse since this regime assumed office, I urge them to do something very soon.”
On his part, Abubakar Lawal, a nail cutter, said he had not felt the impact of the budget in any way.
“As far as I am concerned, the 2016 budget has not made any positive impact on my life, because nothing has changed about me.
“I am still the way I am; still struggling to feed my family with no help in sight, in fact, life has become more difficult, particularly for us at the bottom of the ladder.”
He said that before now, he was making “N3000 in two days and use the remaining days of the week to do other things, but now, I hardly make up to N2,000 in a week.”
Yakubu Abdulkarim, a student of the Kaduna State University, contended that the budget had not translated to anything “significantly better for the generality of the people.”
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi told NAN that the government has implemented 50 per cent of the 2016 budget as at October.
NAN reports that the 2016 budget was N171.7 billion, comprising N109.3billion, representing 64 per cent as capital and N62.4 billion, representing 36 per cent as recurrent expenditure.
Abdullahi said so far, over N70 billion had been spent on salaries, pensions, overheads and capital.
He said that the focus was more on capital expenditure with a target of achieving 60 per cent implementation, adding that as at October, the government has achieved 32 per cent implementation level.
“As at October, we had done 50 per cent implementation of the 2016 budget.
“What we are more interested in though, is the capital budget implementation which was 32 per cent as at October.“We are hoping it will be up to 60 per cent, as we have a lot of outstanding payments we have been making since last month.
“I am confident that once we are done working on the numbers it will be up to 60 per cent, “the commissioner said.