Economy

Citizens urge Kaduna Assembly to increase health, education budgets

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The citizens of Kaduna State on Thursday called on the Kaduna State House of Assembly to increase allocations for the health, education and agricultural sectors in the 2021 proposed budget before it.

They made the call in Kaduna during a virtual Public Hearing on the state’s proposed budget for 2021 financial year.

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State had on Oct. 6 presented the 2021 Draft Estimate of Revenues and Expenditure to the House of Assembly for consideration and passage.

El-Rufai presented a budget size of N237.5 billion of which N157.6 billion, representing 66 per cent of the budget was proposed for capital expenditure and NN79.96 representing 34 per cent for recurrent expenditure.

According to the governor, N59.6 billion was allocated to the education sector, representing 26 per cent of the total budget, while N35.78 billion representing 15 per cent was allocated to the health sector.

Agriculture was allocated N10.4 billion for capital expenditure.

But Mr Mustapha Jumare, Co-Chair, Open Government Partnership (OGP), who spoke on behalf of the citizens said that the allocations to the sectors were inadequate to create the needed change that would impact on the people.

Although Jumare commended the state government for consistently allocating 15 per cent of its budget to the health sector in the last three years, he nonetheless said that the sector needs more funds.

He said the allocation to the Kaduna State Health Supply Management Agency (KADHSMA) had been slashed from N4.7 billion in 2020 to N579.2 million in the proposed 2021 budget.

He urged the House to consider upward review of the allocation for KADHSMA considering the state’s population and the need to achieve universal health coverage and health for all.

“Also, the overhead cost of the Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Agency (KACHMA) was reduced to N4.6 million from the N6.9 million allocated in 2020.

“This is in spite of the current poor citizens enrollment into the scheme. The House of Assembly should increase the overhead cost of the agency to enhance citizens sensitisation and enrollment.

“Similarly, the N188 million allocated to Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan for nutrition interventions was grossly inadequate considering that Kaduna is among the three states with highest cases of malnutrition in the country.

“Also, the one N1 billion allocated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital should be reviewed to two N2 billion to position the only state-owned tertiary health institution that meets the health needs of the people,” he said.

Mr Tijjani Aliyu, Co-Chair, Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM), who also spoke, commended the government for placing education at the top of its priority sectors.

Aliyu, however, said that no amount was allocated for research and urged the Assembly to allocate some funds for research which, he described as critical for educational development in the state.

“Not only that, the government should ensure timely release and cash backing of allocated funds to enable the sector to address the huge infrastructural gap in public schools,” he said.

Responding, the Chairman House Committee on Budget and Appropriation, Ahmed Mohammed, commended the citizens for engaging and taking ownership of the budget processes.

Mohammed assured them that the House would their submissions to engage the ministries, departments, and agencies during the budget defense and made adjustment where necessary.

(
Edited By: Peter Ejiofor)
Source: NAN

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