Commissioner, Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission, Mohammed Sani Dattijo said on Wednesday that the state government would present the state’s 2019 draft budget to the State House of Assembly in June for approval.
The Commissioner disclosed this in Kaduna Northwest of the country, at a One-day Citizens Consultation on Open Government Partnership, Local Government Development Plan and Medium Term Expenditure Frame work.
He said that the step has become necessary to avoid a situation where the budget process would be caught up in the campaigns for 2019 election.
“We have already gone far with the draft and hoped to conclude it by end of May such that by June, the draft would be submitted to the State House of Assembly.
“2018/2019 is a campaign year, and if we don’t get the budget passed by the House of Assembly before campaign commence, it may get trapped and suffer delay, probably till after election.
“Therefore, to maintain our record of getting our budget passed and signed before a budget year, we have no option but to step-up our game to get it passed before the house members go campaigning, “he said.
He expressed optimism for a high revenue prospects in 2019 both at the national and at the state level, adding that the state hoped to meets its revenue target with ongoing reform in the state revenue agency.
On the 2018 budget, the commissioners said that the state has achieved 34 per cent target of capital expenditure for the first quota.
He explained that the essence of the citizen consultation was for civil society organisation, NGOs and members of the public to make comments, criticism and suggestion to be captured in the 2019-2021 MTEF.
He described the MTEF as a document that outline the budget process.
It looked at international, national and local economic prospects and challenges, economic performance over the years and budget policy statement that determine budget envelope for various ministries.
“We want you to understand the budgeting process and pay more attention to revenue generated within a budget year than how much was spent.
“Our expectation is that at the end of the day, CSOs and NGOs will enlighten the general public on budget constraints so that they would be able to appreciate government efforts, “he said.
Dattijo also urged participants to within a week go through the Local Government Development Plans and make suggestions such that the plans would serve as the foundation for 2019 local government budgets.
Also speaking, Yusuf Goje of Coalition of Association for Leadership Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED) commended the state government for adhering to the state’s Fiscal Responsibility Law 2016.
He said that the law mandated the state to engage citizens during the formulation of the MTEF, which the state was doing judiciously.
Similarly, Dr Elisha Menson of Budget Research and Development Policy Advocacy Centre, equally lauded the state government for operating an open governance.
“The objective of the meeting is laudable because budget is a public document and as such requires citizen participation in the processes.
“But much still need to be done to get the larger percentage of the population, who are the beneficiaries of the budget to participate in the formulation process, “Menson said.
Some of the CSOs and development partners at the meeting include UKAID-Funded Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn, Aid Foundation, Connected Development and Follow Taxes.