By Patience Ogbodo, Correspondent, Bauchi
Bauchi State Coalition for the Improvement of Public Expenditure Management (BACIPEM) says budget implementation in 2012 was poor. The group attributed the poor show to overdependence on the Federation Account allocation.
BACIPEM led by the Centre for Information Technology & Development (CITAD) Senior Programme Officer, Kabir Sa’idu Dakata, stated this during a visit to the State House of Assembly Appropriation Committee.
He noted that the 2012 recurrent expenditure was favourably tilted to the capital expenditure in the ratio of 60 to 40.
Dakata stated that the 2013 budgetary allocation to the education sector including the State University is N9,584,197,686 or 7 percent of the total budget, representing 12.9 percent of the capital budget.
He said it was far less than the 25 percent recommended by UNESCO and does not reflect the stated priority given to the sector.
Dakata further told the House Committee that the allocation to the health sector of N5,522,691,470 represents only about 7.5 percent of the capital budget which, he argued, is far less than the 16 percent recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
He added that agriculture which, according to Governor Isa Yuguda is on the top priority, is allocated only N4,218,313,144 or 3.07 percent of the total 2013 budget which is less than 10 percent.
The Maputo Treaty mandates states to commit a total budget estimate to the sector. Malam Kabir Dakata therefore urged the House Appropriation Committee to improve allocation to the health, education, and agriculture to the respective international benchmarks to the sectors.
Dakata also urged the committee to conduct public hearing on the 2013 budget to get further inputs from the public, as he stressed the need for the state to diversify its revenue base to meet challenges of development.
He expressed optimism that BACIPEM suggestions would propel Bauchi State further towards a more transparent and accountable public expenditure management system that will result in value for money and make it easier for citizens to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Responding, the House Appropriation Committee Chairman, Mohammed Dan-Abba Shehu, said the Assembly has also set in motion a body to collate the views and demands of communities across the state with a view to incorporate them into the budget.
He said, “They are already on ground, they have gone to all the local government areas of the state trying to find out what the people need, so already the state House of Assembly has set up a team that went out for the exercise and at the end of it the result will be incorporated into the 2013 budget.”
He explained that it is not the first time the House is setting up such a body as it has been doing it for the past three years, positioning Bauchi as the first state among the 36 states in the federation in the domestication of the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility laws for the state.