The Kano State House of Assembly recently took highly commendable decision by seeking for citizens input on the 2014 budget proposal in the State. In response to the need for participatory budgeting, the State House of Assembly has called for submission of memorandum from concerned Civil Society Organizations and citizens in the state.
Conscious of the need for consensus-building amongst civil society groups in Kano State on the 2014 budget proposal and, of course, which will form civil society inputs to the budget formulation process, theCentre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD),organized a CSOs forum on the 22nd January 2014. The meeting which held at Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training (Mambayya House) has the following SCOs in attendance:
Centre for Democracy and Development
Centre for Information Technology and Development
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
Centre for Research and Documentation
Kano Network of NGOs
Tauraruwa Awareness and Development Association
Joint Association of People with Disability, Kano
Community Support and Development Initiative
Kano State Youth Stakeholders’ Forum
Women and Youth Development Orgnisation
Network for Empowerment and Development Initiatives
Gender for Social Inclusion
Youth and Environmental Development Association
Women Advancement Initiative
Community Development Support
Civil Liberty Organisation, Kano
Participatory Sanitation Development Initiative
Global Youth and Women Support Initiative
Centre for Young People Advancement and Community Development
Intergovernmental Development Initiative
African Research Development Agency
Health and Development Initiative
Legal Defence and Assistance Project
The meeting started with presentation on the performance of the 2013 Kano state budget and analysis of the 2014 budget proposal by Dr. M. S. Sagagi which followed by deliberations and discussions by the participating organizationson the key sectors in the budget.
RESOLUTIONS AND DEMANDS
At the end of the meeting, the participating CSOs made the following demands which aresector specific to achieve socio-economic aspirations of both the government and the people.
- We appreciate the effort of the government in making education a priority through her free education programme but focus needs to transcend provision of new and rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructure, feeding, procurement of equipment, amongst others. WE PRAY that 2014 budget should provide for huge investment on sensitization programmes primarily focusing on parents; especially those living in rural areas, to encourage them to enroll their children/wards in school. The programme should also have component that will put in place measure to sustain such act.
- WE REQUEST for promotion of Inclusive education system in the state by setting aside fund in the 2014 budget to provide for appropriate facilities in schools for People with Disabilities (PWD) as well as employ special teachers capable to cater for their needs.
- Kano State being rated as the state with highest number of drug addicts in NDLEA Report (2013), WE CALL for provision of funds in the 2014 budget for establishment of more reformatory schools in Kano Central and South Senatorial Districts to complement the one already established in Kano North, situated at Kiru LGA in the State.
- Despite that education is one of the major priority sectors of the government; access to education to children in some local communities in the state is still limited. There are communities such as Tarraraba Community in Gezawa LGA that have no schools. Thus, WE PRAY that allocation should be made to construct primary/elementary schools in these communities so as so address the lingering challenges of huge “out-of-school” children in Kano State.
- We acknowledge the attempts made by the government to boost health sector through increased allocation since 2012, however, WE CALL on the government to allocate at least 15% of the state budget considering the huge challenges that needed to be catered for in the sector.
- The government proposes a construction of general hospitals in three local government areas; including Kura, Tudun Wada and Wudil, as pilot in the 2014 Appropriation Bill. However, WE ENTREAT that this initiative should be extended to Bichi, Gwarzo and Gezawa in order to decongest the metropolitan hospitals and create a cluster for effective health service delivery in the state.
- We commend the inexorable efforts of the government to ensure that adequate medical personnel are recruited in hospitals, public health centres and other medical outreach in the State. However, we are concerned about the concentration of employed personnel in urban centre rather than rural areas where health problems are on high increase. WE HEREBY IMPLORE the government to provide for medical personnel who will be massively deployed to rural areas to man available health facilities provided by the government in the 2014 budget.
- Considering the poor indexes of maternal and child death rate in the State, we believe that the 145 million naira proposed in the Appropriation Bill for the Maternal and Neo-Child Health (MNCH) scheme is paltry and insufficient to achieve the laudable prospects of the government. Against this backdrop, WE DEMAND for allocation of funds sufficient enough to successfully implement the scheme.
- We also wish to express our skepticism about the 100 million naira allocation for upgrade of Public Health Centres to Cottage Hospitals across the 44 LGAs in the State. Our concern predicates on the feasibility of the meager fund allocated to achieve this laudable proposal. To make this implementable, WE PRAY that more funds should be allocated to implement this project so as to ensure its successful implementation.
Women and Youth Empowerment
- We are mindful of the fact that previous budgets only provided for People with Special Needs including Women with VVF, Widows, HIV and Divorcees without taking cognizance of People with Disabilities (the Deaf, Blind, Dumb, Leper, Cripple, Mentally Retarded and Drug Addicts). Recognising the importance accorded to this category of people in the Kano State Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation for the Disable Board Law, 2008 (1429 A. H), WE THEREFORE PRAY that fund should be set aside in the 2014 budget to cater for social and economic welfare as well as empowerment of people with disabilities.
- To implement its programme in 2014 fiscal year, Ministry of Women Affair and Social Development will receive approximately N347 million which translates to much less that 1% of the budget estimate and more that N200 million is recurrent. Also, slightly above N1 billion was also proposed to be expended on unspecified broader empowerment schemes. However, given demographic strength of women and youth in the state and huge unemployment rate amongst them which is much higher than the national average, WE PRAY that allocation to the ministry should be reasonably increased and proposed N1.47 billion should be tied to specific programmes for easy tracking of fund disbursement as well as assessment of value for money.
- With regards to allocation of N3.72 billion for Pipe laying from Tamburawa – Eastern Bye Pass – Hadejia road and Watari – Tsanyawa, KafinChiri -Sumaila and Joda – KwanarDanjain the 2014 Appropriation, WE CALL on the members of the State House of Assembly to critically look into this because we suspect that PTF has equally funded the project.
- WE IMPLORE the members of this hallowed legislative chamber to provide for fund for the implementation of the recently passed Water Law so as to ensure that specific institutional frameworks established are operational.
- We recognize that approximately N6billion was earmarked for fertilizer procurement and distribution, wild life management, establishment of Garment industries and other several empowerment projects/programmes in Agriculture, Rural Development and Commerce and Industry sectors in 2014 budget proposal. However, the budget proposal fails to capture the need for research. WE PRAY that funds should be provided specifically for research in the 2014 budget for identification of problems and production of innovative ideas to advance the real sector.
- We are aware that the resource position of the state may mar effective implementation of the 2014 budget. Government projections seem unattainable and, at best, wild given that as at September 2013 only N17.7 billion was internally generated (less than 40% of the projections), and the expectation of nearly N38 billion from Miscellaneous sources and N46.6 billion in “grant general” have remained a mystery. Given this reality and recognition of the need to generate more funds for effective implementation of noble initiatives highlighted in the budget speech, WE CRAVE for setting aside funds in the 2014 budget to embark on mass sensitization programme on the importance of tax emphasizing ‘TAX for SERVICE” in the State.
At the end of the meeting, a position paper containing all the demands was drafted and that was what CITAD presented on behalf of the other CSOsat the public hearing which held at the Kano State House of Assembly Complex on Thursday, 23/01/2014.