Niger State Governor, Dr. Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu has presented a total of N80.8 billion budget estimate for 2015 to the State House of Assembly.
Aliyu said, Personnel costs, education and completion of ongoing capital projects would top the list of priority projects the state government would execute in the 2015 budget.
According to him, N42.1 billion out of the proposed N80.8billion is for recurrent expenditure and N38.6bn for capital expenditure, showing that for the first time in the 8 year administration of the PDP government in the state recurrent budget outweighs capital expenditure.
Governor Aliyu told the House of Assembly members that Value Added Tax (VAT) will generate for the Government over N10bn while capital receipts and Internally Generated Revenue IGR will each bring in N9bn.
The budget he said would depend over 82% on federation account he said adding that the government has already provided the necessary safety valves to receive the shocks from the continuous drop in the price of oil in the international market.
He insisted that payment of salaries would continue to be a priority to government even when the economy of the state has continued to dwindle; stressing that the administration has already set aside money for the payment of pensions and gratuities for retirees adding that government has over the last 7 years committed N14bn to the payment of pension.
“Nonpayment of salaries will lead to corruption, nonpayment of salary will lead to moral decadence” the Governor submitted while defending the government’s decision to accord priority attention to payment of salaries and allowances to workers.
Governor Aliyu said that his administration has been able to develop both the rural and urban areas of the state especially with the introduction of the Ward Development Project concept which has brought about the execution of 5937 projects in the 274 wards in the state.
Aliyu therefore expressed satisfaction that the aspect of the autonomy of local governments will not scale through in the National Assembly submitting that giving autonomy to LGAs would have been a recipe for chaos in the country.
The Speaker of the state house of assembly Barrister Adamu Usman in his address assured that the legislators will speedily consider the budget to ensure its quick passage.
Usman said that the house has been able to pass into law 25 bills while 13 others are receiving attention before praising the cordial relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government.