GOVERNOR Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, on Friday, signed the N157.44 billion budget of the state for 2019 as approved by the State House of Assembly.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor also assented to the budget of the 23 local government councils amounting to N62.34 billion.
El-Rufai explained that the capital component of the state budget was N94.47 billion, while recurrent expenditure was allocated N62.97 billion.
The budget was slightly adjusted upward by the assembly from the initial N155.86 billion forwarded to it for approval by the governor.
El-Rufai, however, said in spite of the adjustment, the state budget still retained the 60:40 capital to recurrent ratio.
He explained that human capital development, social services, including education and health were allocated N39.14 billion, representing 41 per cent of the capital budget.
“Education has a capital budget of N25.4 billion, while Health has N13.1 billion as a demonstration of the Government desire to promote equality of opportunity by putting people first.
“Today, this alignment of the fiscal and calendar year for the budget of the state government is being extended to the budget of the 23 local government councils in the state,” he added.
On the local government budget, the governor disclosed that the government had this year launched a Local Government Fiscal Transparency Sustainability and Accountability (LFTAS) Programme to track performance.
He explained that the programme rewards LGAs that adopt best practices in budgeting, procurement, tracking absenteeism of teachers and health workers and citizen engagement among other indicators.
He added that the programme will be fully operational in 2019.
“We are committed to ensuring that local governments play their role in our quest for a better state,” El-Rufa’i stressed.
According to him, it is the first time in the history of the state that the budgets of the state and local governments were signed on the same day.
“This means that our local government councils will, for the first time since their creation in 1976, also begin the financial year on the first day of the new year.”
He explained that it was a consistent pattern in budgeting that the social sector takes the largest chunk of capital commitments.
“Thus, while the overall budget size is smaller than it was in previous years, the proportion we devote to human capital development does not shrink.
“We remain resolute in implementing our education reforms which aim to improve the quality of education offered in our public schools.
“For many of us, government schools gave us the education that enabled us to rise above the circumstances of our birth.
“We owe the children of ordinary people a duty to restore public education as a lever for social mobility,” he said.
El-Rufai further disclosed that in 2019, the state government would recruit over 3000 health professionals to strengthen the primary health care sector.
“Following the passage of the law establishing the Contributory Health Management Authority, the contributory health insurance scheme will take off in Kaduna State early in 2019,” he added.
On security, he said that the state and local governments would cooperate to expand the presence of security agencies in the state with more offices and facilities for the police, the SSS and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to be provided across the state.
On his part, the Deputy Speaker of the state assembly, Nuhu Shadalafiya, assured the governor of the legislature’s commitment to work with him in propelling the state to the next level of growth and development.