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BBYDI Raises Concerns Over Vague Items In Kwara’s Proposed 2024 Budget

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BBYDI Raises Concerns Over Vague Items In Kwara’s Proposed 2024 Budget

Abuja, Nigeria– The Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI) has commended the Kwara State government for notable improvements observed in the 2024 budget proposal presented to the State Assembly by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

BBYDI, who also raised concern over some vague and frivolous items in the proposed budget. Governor Abdulrazaq had last week laid before the parliament a fiscal plan of N296.4bn for next year, with capital expenditure getting 61 percent while recurrent expenditure got 39 percent of the budget estimates.

In a statement released by its Global Director-Mr. Abideen Olasupo, BBYDI specially lauded the state government for the introduction of a ‘basis for estimation and overhead descriptions’ in the 2024 budget, saying this had provided a foundation for clearer financial planning and accountability.

The statement read; “These improvements address some of the key issues we have consistently advocated for, marking a positive step towards enhanced financial planning. Additionally, we commend the state government for incorporating forward-thinking initiatives in the 2024 budget, such as drug abuse prevention programmes and the construction of a rehabilitation centre.

“The allocation of a N100million as take-off grant for the Education Trust Fund project is also laudable, reflecting a commitment to enhancing educational development in the state. Furthermore, the budget provision of N16million for the establishment of crèches and breastfeeding corners in MDAs, promoting exclusive breastfeeding, demonstrates a holistic approach to healthcare and family support.

However, BBYDI demanded clarifications from the State government over some concerns it observed in the budget proposals which include missing overhead descriptions, unclear and non-specific line items, repetitive and frivolous items.

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The organization sought explanation on the introduction of N25million for annual budget expenses and administration, and another N40million provision for the same ‘annual budget expenses’ under the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.

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KwaraLearn has been allocated a budget of N3.5 billion for 2024. However, the CSO is questioning the additional N150 million designated for Digital Education in the proposed budget, urging the government to provide details on its intended purpose.

It equally asked the government to clarify the N1billion it budgeted for Adeta School and another N5billion earmarked for Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Under the budget of the Kwara State House of Assembly, BBYDI queried the allocation of N2.214billion for the Management and Administration of the Assembly, and another N480million for Grassroots Development and Empowerment. It also demanded explanation on the proposed purchase of two Prado Jeeps worth N100million each for the Speaker of the House and his Deputy, considering that N148.8million was spent on the same budget line item in the current fiscal year. “Can the government clarify if such purchases are expected to be an annual occurrence?”, it asked.

The organization also asked the state government to clarify the allocation of N500Million for ‘MSMEs Support Fund’ under the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Technology, and how it is different from Kwarapreneur programme being coordinated by KWASSIP. It said the explanation is needed in the face of another allocation of N4billion for Owo Isowo and Owo Arugbo, along with N831million for NG Cares still under KWASSIP.

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Furthermore, the organization said: “The allocation of 6 billion Naira for KwIRS Financial Consulting, with a special release tag, requires clarification, particularly when only 1.1 billion Naira was spent as of September 2023. Could the government explain the justification for this allocation and the intended focus of the financial consulting services?

“Additionally, the allocation of N2.5 Billion (Ministry of Finance) for ‘Financial Consulting’ raises concerns about the justification for such a substantial amount. Could the government provide details on the specific type of accounting software covered by this budget? The voting of N2.2billion for the Ministry of Finance’s Emergency Intervention Fund also requires explanation. Could the government provide details on the intended use of this fund and the specific areas it aims to address?”

BBYDI also raised concern over the voting of N100Million for what the government tagged ‘Renovation of Kwara Agriculture-Mall and the training of 1000 youths and women on adaptable agricultural practices along the value chain.’ It said this particular line item lacks clarity in the project description, and asked if the government could offer a detailed breakdown, specifying the amount designated for renovation and training, as well as the nature of the training.

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Continuing, the organisation demanded a detailed breakdown of the allocation of N334million for the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor. It said the breakdown was necessary as another N43.9million was budgeted to “take care of the Office of SSA New Media activities, management of State handles and sponsorship.” According to the organization, this is the first time such a line item will be included in the budget under the present administration.

It also raised questions about the purpose of the N266.4million budgeted for the General Office under the Government House budget. It, therefore, demanded a clear explanation of the intended use of this fund, noting that this has been recurring since this administration came on board.

The group called on the State Assembly to take time to properly scrutinize the budget proposal and not be in a hurry to pass it, adding that the concerns it raised about some line items in the budget should be reviewed to ensure responsible and effective distribution of public resources in the overall interest of the people.

BBYDI stated that it would soon make public further discrepancies, unclear and frivolous line items it observed in the 2024 budget proposals, and encouraged members of the public to take interest in scrutinizing the budget and seek appropriate clarifications from the government.

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