Kwara 2024 Budget: Group Queries Allocation of N680m for Constituency Project, New Jeeps for Speaker

By Nasir Abdulganiy

A civil society organization, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI) has queried the allocation of N680million for Constituency Project and procurement of new prado jeeps for Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker and his deputy in 2024 budget.

BBYDI in a statement issued on Sunday by its Global Director, Abideen Olasupo demanded explanation on the proposed purchase of two Prado Jeeps worth N100million each for the Speaker and his Deputy, noting that N148.8million was spent on the same in 2023 budget.

According to the group, Under the budget of the Kwara State House of Assembly, BBYDI queried the allocation of N2.214billion for the Management and Administration of the Assembly, and another N480million for Grassroots Development and Empowerment.

“It also demanded explanation on the proposed purchase of two Prado Jeeps worth N100million each for the Speaker of the House and his Deputy, considering that N148.8million was spent on the same budget line item in the current fiscal year. “Can the government clarify if such purchases are expected to be an annual occurrence?”, it asked.

BBYDI however commended the Kwara State government for improvements observed in the 2024 budget proposal presented to the State Assembly by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

This is also as the group raised concern over some vague and frivolous items in the proposed budget.

Recall that Governor Abdulrazaq on December 14 laid before the parliament a fiscal plan of N296.4bn for next year, with capital expenditure getting 61 percent while recurrent expenditure got 39 percent of the budget estimates.

They lauded the state government for the introduction of a ‘basis for estimation and overhead descriptions’ in the 2024 budget, saying this had provided a foundation for clearer financial planning and accountability.

“These improvements address some of the key issues we have consistently advocated for, marking a positive step towards enhanced financial planning. Additionally, we commend the state government for incorporating forward-thinking initiatives in the 2024 budget, such as drug abuse prevention programmes and the construction of a rehabilitation centre.

“The allocation of a N100million as take-off grant for the Education Trust Fund project is also laudable, reflecting a commitment to enhancing educational development in the state. Furthermore, the budget provision of N16million for the establishment of crèches and breastfeeding corners in MDAs, promoting exclusive breastfeeding, demonstrates a holistic approach to healthcare and family support,” the statement said.

The group, however, demanded clarifications from the State government over some concerns it observed in the budget proposals which include missing overhead descriptions, unclear and non-specific line items, repetitive and frivolous items.

With KwaraLearn getting a budgetary provision of N3.5billion for 2024, the CSO wondered why an additional amount of N150million was allocated for Digital Education in the proposed budget, asking the government to specify what the amount is meant for. It equally asked the government to clarify the N1billion it budgeted for Adeta School and another N5billion earmarked for Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The organization also asked the state government to clarify the allocation of N500Million for ‘MSMEs Support Fund’ under the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Technology, and how it is different from Kwarapreneur programme being coordinated by KWASSIP. It said the explanation is needed in the face of another allocation of N4billion for Owo Isowo and Owo Arugbo, along with N831million for NG Cares still under KWASSIP.

Furthermore, the organization said: “The allocation of 6 billion Naira for KwIRS Financial Consulting, with a special release tag, requires clarification, particularly when only 1.1 billion Naira was spent as of September 2023. Could the government explain the justification for this allocation and the intended focus of the financial consulting services?

“Additionally, the allocation of N2.5 Billion (Ministry of Finance) for ‘Financial Consulting’ raises concerns about the justification for such a substantial amount. Could the government provide details on the specific type of accounting software covered by this budget? The voting of N2.2billion for the Ministry of Finance’s Emergency Intervention Fund also requires explanation. Could the government provide details on the intended use of this fund and the specific areas it aims to address?”

 

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