By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State on Thursday presented the 2017 budget to the state’s House of Assembly.
Mr Ahmed, in his speech, noted that he plans to spend N135.26 billion in the 2017 fiscal year.
According to him, the 2017 appropriation bill christened ‘Budget of Introspection and Sustenance,’ is anchored on current economic realities and his administration’s determination to look inwards for sustained prosperity and development.
The Governor noted that his government intends to fully exploit the economic potentials of the state by tapping into all potential sources of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through the improvement of existing revenue line items while breaking new ground.
However, he maintained that this would be “pursued in a manner that will not inflict hardship on our people.”
Business Post correspondent reports that Mr Ahmed explained to the lawmakers that the 2017 budget is N22.68 billion higher than what was presented in the outgoing 2016 fiscal year, representing 21.2 percent increase.
He also said out of the total budget size, a total sum of N57.5 billion is earmarked for recurrent expenditure, N71 billion is for capital expenditure and a total sum of N6.8 billion is allotted for public debt service, representing 42.5 percent, 52.5 percent and 5 percent of the total budget size respectively.
Moreover, the Governor told the House of Assembly that he intends to fund the 2017 budget through the statutory revenue allocation (FAAC) estimated at N23.8 billion, VAT estimated at N7.5 billion, other sundry revenue estimated at N7.5 billion, refund from London and Paris Club Loans at N10 billion, IGR of N20.3 billion, Capital Development Fund Receipt/Aid & Grants of N52.5 billion and term loan facility from Financial Institutions estimated at N5 billion.
In his speech, the Kwara State Governor said his “commitment to bridge the infrastructure development gap in the state remains unshaken despite the present economic challenges.
“In line with this determination, the state government has devised innovative means of financing the infrastructural projects in the state through the establishment of Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund known as IF-K, in which this Honourable House graciously passed into law recently.
“The fund is sourced from the state’s IGR deduction of N500 million only on a monthly basis. This singular act will free up money for our critical infrastructure and other social related expenditure.
“In addition, we are looking at alternative financing sources for some of our projects through Public Private Partnership in the coming financial year.”
He further disclosed that the 2017 budget proposal is for the promotion of the welfare of Kwarans by enhancing infrastructure, stimulating the socio-economic environment, boosting the informal sector and, by extension, expanding job creation, noting that, “I am aware that this year has been a difficult one for individuals, families and businesses in Kwara State.”
“I am determined that despite the current challenges, and based on the proposals I am presenting today, we will be able to put food on more tables, money in more pockets and more people in employment this coming year,” Mr Ahmed assured.
He said, “The 2017 budget is generally designed to diversify the production and revenue base of the state economy to deliver inclusive growth, infrastructural development, job creation and social intervention programs for the poor and vulnerable groups.”
Mr Ahmed promised to reduce the cost of governance and be prudent in the utilization of available resources in critical areas to help his administration achieve its goals for 2017 fiscal year.
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