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Frivolous spending in the 2016 Kwara State budget

Date: 2016-10-07

 

In recent year, the management of the nation resources has met with reaction and dissatisfaction by the aggrieved individual who believed the government has not done much to relief people from suffering instead intensifying peopleís pain. Government had been accused for lack of vision, poor leadership, and bad governance. This might due to the ineffectiveness of the government services and inability to meet with the need of the masses. However, one must not forget the fact that when the economic was booming the masses neither benefit nor reap from its booming, the few elites who constitute about 5% of the total population of the country benefited much from the booming. This is evidence in a flamboyant life lived by elites given the big houses, unlawful spending and elitist policy formulated and implemented at the expense of the masses. They have also seen the masses as nothing and not part of the country. This is exhibited in their action and policy engagement. As a democratic society, it is expected that people's opinion should be sought on the matter that affect them. This is not the case with Nigeria policy makers, opinions are not sought and decision that affect the populace are made as long as it did not affect the interest of the elitists. It is believed their service is needed only during electoral context to enable their election into the public offices with a view to continue their elitistsí politics.

However, with current economic downturn, both the elitists and masses have been thrown into distress due to insufficient fund caused by the fall in the oil price. Almost all the states of the federation depend majorly on statutory allocation with little or no consideration for internal revenue generation and caryy our measure to be self dependent.

Therefore over dependence in statutory allocation which has since 2015 continued to fall has not only made these elites to see the state as a broken state but a state living in the web of recession. What might cause recession? The cause for Nigeria recession is clear to everyone given, some it is non diversification of the economy, poor fiscal and monetary policies by the federal government as well as the state inability not only to save for raining day and fashion out economic policy that affect the lives of every Kwarans. Other believed recession is consequence of increased income distribution inequalities, high interest rate, massive recruitment by the government, borrowing of money on pure consumption basis. All these have hindered government to perform its constitutional functions. However, people have suggested that wisely spending on agriculture, infrastructure and manufacturer sectors, prompt payment of workers wages, cut in appropriation law, removal of frivolous spending on project that cannot generate a return such as sending people to pilgrimage, buying rams for people during Salah festival, procurement of cars for public office holders at exorbitant rate, planting flowers on the street, etc. could help remove the state from economic difficulty and allows more money to be available to carry out capital projects. Some states still maintain unruly habit, hence, budgeting exorbitant money on certain items and project that had little or no value to the development of the state given Billion of Nigeria appropriated for the motor vehicles in Kwara state this year.

Kwara state budget for 2016 composed of capital project with an estimate of #67.3 billion, while the recurrent project estimated #60.7 million. This estimate covered the capital project of about 28 ministries; it also covered government spending these ministries given the salaries and other expenses which were not aimed of generating revenue.

The 2016 Kwara state Appropriation Law revealed that almost all MDAs including the governor and State House of Assembly had as part for their capital project, the procurement of vehicles ranging from bus, vans, truck, cars, being budgeted. The Governorís House has a total of #595 million for the purchase of motor vehicles. Kwara state House of Assembly total of about 28 million budgeted for the purchase of motor vehicles and Office of Head of Service #52 million. One must not forget the fact that these people had cars they are using. The question as to why these huge amount is appropriated in this respect has becomes a source of worry. Therefore a total #1.3 Billion is budgeted under capital project different types of vehicles for about 28 MDAs including Governor and the House of Assembly. This constitutes about 2.07 percent of the overall capital expenditure which stood at 67.3billion. Also it is about 1.09 percent of overall expenditure 128billion (budget size).

The question is, is there any direct impact of these amount on the masses. To me the answer is no, one should not forget the fact that, kwarans are not happy with the development in the state. Economic has hit hard on the average kwarans poverty level has increased and this had led to the increase on the crime rate, burglary, ATM vandalism, child labour, withdrawal of children from school, inability to avoid basic human necessity such as access to primary health care given the high price of medicine and charges by the health personnel. There is no correlation between the high standard of living in the state and government policy. The government policy in recent year has not improved the wellbeing of the masses. Most of the youths who are beneficiary of the government project called KWABES are either being relieved of their work or their salary fixed since their salary are not being budgeted for in the 2016 Appropriation Law of the state. Though, government had earlier noted that it is temporary employment, but the amount budgeted for the vehicles could have been a major means to continue the programme. Many of these youths have gone back the street with nothing doing, hence, embarked on illegal means to sustain their lives. This explains while hooliganism, thuggery, human stealing, pocket picking, raping (especially against children), rituals became rampant. This also brought about the lack of respect for the constituted authority whom they saw as enemy of the masses because of their passive response to the masses crying and inability to speak for them.

The point is that, government has no direction in its policy formulation and implementation. They did not see the masses as part of the state. The point is that, this is the not the right time to use billion of naira for motor vehicles. There is need to divert the money on youth empowerment, support traders, artisans, and improve the small scale and businesses enterprises in the state with a view to reduced the difficulty being faced by the local business men and women. Since most of them has in recent year often found it difficult to get bank grant which was cause by the federal government Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy. It must be noted a great number of Banks depend on the government money. The TSA has created set back on the banks financial power and ability to give out loan, hence, making it difficult for people to source capital in improving their market.

Today, Kwara state is witnessing one of the most devastating economic downturn in history. This is a state where a civil servant went to the market to steal food stuff for his family, a family eats his neighbours food kept in kitchen because they could not afford to feed their children, young and old now walk extra mile due to lack of money, many people have turned beggar to sustain their livelihood, standard of living is extremely high, people no longer eat three square meals but one, people now fasting not because they want to get closer to God but because of lack of money. This is a state where #105 million naira is budgeted for purchase of the motor vehicles for the Ministry of Local Government Affairs And Development. This action proposal itself shows the inability of the government to see from its root. Is the state government really aware of people suffering? Do the chief really need vehicles in this hard time at the expense of the masses? This is a worrisome action that needs to be stopped if Kwara needs to develop and competes among its peers especially those crated together in 1967.

Apart from the down fall in statutory allocation, one cannot separate the difficulty of the masses from the government excessive borrowing, poor planning, inadequate provision of social amenities, foreign taste, construction of multibillionaire project (including underfunding of the capital project), house and company outside their state of origin, medical tourism without effort to promote the local medical facilities. All these are parts of the means to keep the elitist who manage the state resources on the race and compete effectively in asset holding with their colleagues in other part of the states and outside the country. This has hampered the creation of society without disparity between the rich and the poor. It has hindered the creation of state economically buoyant, state that is well sufficient in material need, etc.

The implication is that if the trend continues, they become part of the society culture, and this is dangerous to the development of the state. If the new generation of youth imbibes these reckless behaviours, the future of the state is in danger.

To readiness this, the state governed need to come to the rescued of the masses by helping to provide assistant for the traders and ensure that the beneficiary of the grant are not elitist who often disguise to take everything for their family. It must be noted as a matter of urgency established factories that would help reduce people's burden. The allocation should be judiciously used and effort should be made to create enabling environment for the investors. Hence, the purchase of vehicles with such exorbitant money be stopped and the money meant for that be redirect to carry out empowerment programme for the youth, provide loan for the business a man and women and sincerely support the SMEs in the state.

Over the years, the management of the human and material resources in the state has always met with reaction and dissatisfaction. This might due to the effectiveness of the government services, its inability to meet with the need of the masses.

Kwara state budget for 2016 composed of capital project with an estimate of 67358737257, while the recurrent project estimated 61 million naira. This estimate could both the all capital continued the government spending on those main time given the salary and other expenses which were not aim of generating revenue.

In recent years, the country economic recession caused by lack of vision, poor leadership, bad governance, nepotism and favouratism on the part of the leadersí ahs made both the federal government and state government t grumble over inadequate resources especially in meeting the need of the masse. However, one must not forget the fact that when the economic was booming the masses neither benefit nor reap from its booming, the since only the few elite who constitute about 5% of the total population of the country benefited much from the booming. This is evidence in a flamboyant life spent by these few elites. They had also seen the masses as nothing and not part of the country and whose service is needed only during electoral context to enable them elected into the public office with a view to continue their elitists politics and promote their personal interest. This trend has some independence has not change a wing. The reason can be seen on the non-masses of the political elites, excessive borrowing, poor planning, siphon of major currency, devaluation without considering its negative effect on the masses, inadequate provision of social amenities, lack of effective measure to reduce power supply (since majority of the had generator at home), foreign taste, medical tourism, without effective to promote the local ones. Construction of multibillionaire project, house and company outside their country of origin. This as cover their face in creating a society where there will be disparity between the rich and the poor.

All these were parts of the means to keep them on the race and compete effectively in asset holding with their colleague within and outside the country.

However, Nigeria has been known t be bless with human and numerous natural resources but the state mainly depended on the oil money which many scholar has describe as course rather than blessing given the disparity it has created between the rich and the poor. However, the continued decline on the oil money has not only made these elites to the country as a broken nation but the economic has said to be in recession. What might cause recession is. The cause for Nigeria re cessation is clear to everyone. Given the non diversification of the economy and its reliance on oil revenue since 1970s.

However, with the effort of the such as reduction his government spending encouragement of agriculture as well as a major step have been given priority to the recent year. While other had also cut the budget spending by removing frivolous spending on project that cannot generate a return such as massive recruitment by the government, sending people to pilgrimage, buying rams to people during Salah festivity. Buying cars for public office holders at exorbitant rate, planting flowers on the street etc their still continued to maintain unruly activities budgeting exorbitant money on certain items and project that had little or no value to the development of the state.

The 2016 Kwara state appropriation law revealed that almost all MDAs including the governor and state house of assembly has as part for their capital project the procurement for vehicles ranging from bus, vans, truck, cars, were budged fro. The governor house, as a total of 595,000,000 million naira for the purchase of motor vehicles, in Kwara state house of assembly total of about 28 million was budgeted for the purchase of motor vehicles. On must not forget the fact that these people had cars they are using. The question as to why these huge amount is appropriated in this respect has becomes a source of worry. It must be noted in all MDAs including governor and the house of assembly a total of about 1,3992,271,757 billion is budgeted for the purchase of vehicle of different types in Kwara state. under the capital budget. This constitutes about 2.07 percent of the overall capital expenditure. Also it is about 1.09 percent of overall expenditure (budget size).

The question is, is there any direct impact o these amount on the masses. To me the answer is no, one should not forget the fact that, these are people are not happy with these are people are not happy with the state development, economic has hit hard on the average kwarans poverty level has increased and this had led to the increase on the crime rate, child labour withdrawal of children of children from school, inability to avoid basic human necessity such as access to primary health care, given the high price of medicine and charges y the health personnel. There is no correlation between the high standard of living in the state and government policy. The government policy in recent year has not improves the livelihood of the masses. Most of the youth who were beneficiary of the government project called KWABES are either being rejected or their salary fixed since their salary are not being budgeted fro I the 2016 appropriation law of the state. Though government had earlier said it was part of temporary employment. But the amount budgeted for the vehicles could have been a major eans to continue the programme. Many of these youths have gone back the street with nothing doing, hence, embarked on illegal means to sustain their lives. This explains while hooliganism, thuggery, human stealing, pocket picking, rituals and state became rampant. This also brought about the lack of respect for the constituted authority whom they saw as enemy of the masses because f their passive in speaking in the interest of the masses.

The point is that, government has no direction in its policy formulation and implementation. They did not see the masses as part of the state. The point is that, this is the not the right time, there is need to diverted the money the motor vehicles on youth empowerment, support traders, artisans, and improve the small scale and businesses enterprises in the state with a view to reduced the difficulty being faced by the local business men and women. Since most of them has in recent year often found it difficult to get bank grant which was cause by the federal government TSA policy. It must be noted that most of our depended majorly on the government money. The TSA has created set back on the banks financial power and ability to give out loan, hence, making it difficult for people to source capital in improving their market.

This is a state where a civil servant went to the market to steal food stuff for his family, a state where we witness a family eats his neighbours food kept in kitchen because they could not afford to feed the family, a state where people young and old now walk extra mile, due to lack of money. A state where some people have turned beggar to sustain their live hood. A state where standard of living is extremely high, a state where people no longer eat three square meals but one. This is a state where 104 million naira is budgeted for purchase of the motor vehicles for the ministry of local government affairs and development. This action proposal itself shows the inability of the government to see from its root. Is government aware of the peopleís suffering. The state has stolen something, ohers asked him/her to be left alone because the action is due to poverty

The implication is that this trend continued like this, they become part of the society culture, and thisis dangerous for the development of the state.

To readiness this, the state governed need to come to the rescued of the masses buy helping to provide subsidy for the traders, help them import goods with low price and resale fr the masses. It must e noted as a ammeter of urgency established factories that would help reduce peopleís burden. The money should be judiciously used and effort should be made to create enabling environment for the investors. Hence the purchase of vehicles with such exorbitant money be stopped and the money meant for that e redirected to carry out empowerment programme for the youth and provide loan for the business a man and women as well as support the SMEs in the state.

Kareem Abdulrasaq

Assistant research officer at Grassroots development and advocacy Centre Ilorin


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