Gombe state presents Citizens’ Accountability Report on 2020 budget

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe


The Gombe State Government has presented the Citizens’ Accountability Report for the 2020 Budget to the public.

Speaking during the meeting in Gombe, the Permanent Secretary, Gombe State Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Ibrahim Jalo-Ali, said despite the passage of the Budget on December 9, 2019, and its implementation commencement on January 1, 2020, the advent of the Covid-19 Pandemic and its attendant consequences on the economy informed the revision and passage of the supplementary budget on July 15, 2020, while its General Virement was prepared and approved on October 30, 2020.
“As you are all aware, the pandemic, the government quickly made and some adjustments. There was some increment on 30 thousand minimum wage, which the government quickly suspended. The government quickly realigned the budget. We quickly made a Supplementary Budget which we still intimated the public. We did a citizen’s engagement to inform the public that we have a pandemic, resources expected are no longer realisable, so we want to revise the budget to reduce the level of expenditure we expected,” said Mr. Jalo.
Mr. Jalo said the Citizen’s Accountability Report meeting was held simultaneously across the three Senatorial Districts, giving out the government’s performances in carrying out its duties and the utilisation of funds in the government coffers.
He said it was the first time the government was holding such an event, which was intended at bringing everyone on board because citizens had made inputs into the budget and would want to know how the budget was expended.
The Finance Permanent Secretary said the Aggregate Revenue Performance from the 2020 Budget stood at 77%, which represents 126.44 billion naira, with a shortfall of 28.9 billion naira from both the Federation revenue account and Internally Generated Revenue, within a 75% to 80% performance.
he said there was a total expenditure of 25.6%, representing 26.9 billion naira, less than the budgeted amount, which is 107.6 billion naira.
according to him, the closing balance of 14.8 billion naira, due to anticipated receipt for State Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability Grants in the final month of 2020.
Mr. Jalo said Capital Expenditure took the major part of the Expenditure Shortfall, with the performance of less than 60%, while much of the recurrent expenditure in 2020 was obligatory, based on revenue shortfall, while capital expenditure was largely focused on completing ongoing projects, with a very few new projects started.
He said overall, Health and Education sectors enjoyed the highest proportion of recurrent expenditure, while Works and education received the highest proportion of capital expenditure.
“The priority of this government since inception has been health. It has made huge investments in the health sector. However, with the pandemic, the government still realised it need to do more. That is why it decided to invest heavily on the construction of the General Hospital, Kumo, massive renovation and the restructuring of the General Hospitals Bajoga and that of Kaltungo. This is all to expand the healthcare system to the core. This is where the government deems it wise that let’s invest in health and let the public have impacted so that we will be able to control future occurrences of this pandemic so that we are not exposed again,” said Mr. Jalo.

He said the objective s of the Accountability Report was to present the Audited financial Statment information in a manner that is understood easily and digestive for citizens to facilitate citizens’ engagement with their governments for improved service delivery and societal development, as well as to give the citizens the opportunity to track government’s projects meant for their wellbeing.

The Citizens’ Accountability Report is aimed at helping citizens have a good understanding of how expenditure affects them directly, foster greater understanding of how public funds are utilised, especially if the information presented is in a more accessible format, as well as contribute to the efforts of increasing government accountability on how it manages public funds.
For the Public Management Specialist of the State-to-State USAID Activity in Nigeria based in Gombe, Dr. Eunice Ngozi Akpala Okorafoar, the Citizen’s Accountability Report meeting was a welcomed development, because the State-to-State project had looked forward to because citizens should be part of governance.
This is the first of its kind and it is something that the State has been supporting and advocating. We have given technical support in this regard and we are glad that it has come to be. The Citizen’s Accountability Report has come to stay,” Dr. Okorafoar said.
She said it was expected that the report would be produced on a yearly basis so that citizens would see what the government was doing and how their money was being spent.




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