By Nasir Isa
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, yesterday presented N208.7 billion 2021 budget to the state House of Assembly for consideration and passage into law.
According to him, the budget proposal is 43 per cent higher than this year’s budget of N146 billion.
Zulum, while presenting the budget in Maiduguri, the state capital, said that the bill, tagged “People’s Budget of Recovery and Consolidation,” was to be financed from recurrent and capital revenue receipt of N90.2 billion and N118.5 billion respectively.
He said that the recurrent expenditure proposal stood at N72.7 billion, while capital expenditures would gulp N135.2 billion.
He said that the contingency expenditure to finance next year’s budget was N833 million.
Besides, he said that the budget proposal was based on Federal Government’s fiscal forecast for the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditures Framework, noting that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) forecast was also adopted to reflect economic realities and coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said that the 2021 budget would also serve as a benchmark for implementation of the state’s 25-year development plan.
“Next year’s budget is of strategic importance to the course of developing state as the Works, Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR) and Education sectors were accorded topmost priority,” he said.
However, Speaker of the House, Abdulkarim Lawan, who condemned the incessant Boko Haram attacks and killings in various communities, assured the governor that members of the Assembly would continue to support government policies and programmes to improve the living conditions of people.
IN the meantime, the governor has disbursed N12 billion to clear gratuities of 4,865 retired civil servants across the state.
According to him, the payment of the retirees was facilitated by the state House of Assembly through a loan.
He said: “The accumulated backlog of gratuities over years has become worrisome.
“Government is making frantic efforts to settle all outstanding gratuities and pension arrears to retired workers in the state.
“This is in fulfilment of my electioneering campaign promise to the people of Borno State.
“Right now, the total gratuity due for retirees in the state is about N30 billion but the amount due for payment is about N28 billion because the retired civil servants are owing the state government N17 million.
The governor, who also lamented that workers that retired between 2012 and 2014 and worked for 35 years could not be paid their benefits, attributed non-payment to corruption.
According to him: “Payments that were made during my predecessor, Kashim Shettima, have not adequately reached the beneficiaries.”