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HomeNewsKaduna State 2023 Citizens’ Accountability Report: Budget Realism and Social Accountability.

Kaduna State 2023 Citizens’ Accountability Report: Budget Realism and Social Accountability.

By Yusuf Ishaku Goje

The Citizens’ Accountability Report (CAR) presented today by the Kaduna State government at a stakeholders’ town-hall meeting has again brought to light the issue of budget realism and credibility. This is as the report showed that the 2023 revenue and expenditure had 64% and 61% performances respectively. This means due to shortfalls in performance some projects were not executed or completed, some institutions did not have the needed overhead funds to effectively deliver mandates and probably some personnel costs were not catered for.

Before deep diving into the report, it is important to commend the State government for sustaining this reform gain. As this fulfills a social contracts under pillar three of the SUSTAIN Manifesto. The annual publishing and stakeholders’ engagement on CAR is an output of one of such reforms, the now ended SFTAS program for results. The CAR seeks to present State Audited Financial Statements information in a manner that is easily digestible for citizens; thereby, enabling effective citizens’ engagement for improved public service delivery.

Back to the report, a further breakdown shows that expenditure performance for personnel cost was 74%, other recurrent had 59%, while capital had 57%. Interestingly, the total revenue performance in 2023 (an election year) was 5% less than 2022; while, total expenditure in the same year was 10% less than the 2022 performance. Notwithstanding the justification given for the performance, it is either the quality of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF, 2023-2025) should be questioned or the State government did not adhere to its proposed budget ceiling.

Another area of concern in the report is the section on audit findings, which has not met the expected requirements. As none of the audit findings published in the Auditor-General reports was captured. Some of the findings that should have been captured in the section based on the Auditor-General report for 2023 are: 2 additional audit queries were issued to two MDAs raising the total number of queries to 21; 672 boarded vehicles yet to be accounted for; 4 vehicles missing etc.

The report also reminds us of how indebted we are as a State and the burden we have to carry in the next few years. This is despite the reduction in our debt stock, as the total debt of N568.9 billion in the beginning of 2023 reduced to N454.8 billion by the end of the same year. In the same period, about N27.6 billion was used to service the debt. Under recurrent expenditure, the administrative sector had the lowest performance at 50%; while for capital expenditure, only the economic sector had above 60% performance.

In addition, capital expenditure shows that 14 of the main organizations had 60% and below. As for citizens’ nominated projects, only 11 had above 60% performance out of 21. However, it is difficult to ascertain if the projects were nominated by citizens as most of the projects are lumped up. Under the section on Gender & Social Inclusion (GESI), 7 projects out of the 12 had 60% and above performance. Beyond these performances, the civil society actors need to employ the information in the CAR to track these projects to ensure there is value for money.

It is interesting to note that despite the below expected performance in 2023, most of the revenue targets have been doubled in the 2024 approved budget. For instance, despite only 70% of the 2023 IGR target of N89 billion was met, in 2024 the target was meteorically increased to N120 billion. Like seriously, it is time we really prioritize realistic budgeting. The ball is now in the court of citizens and CSOs to employ the CAR information to effectively engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.

Goje is an active citizen, civil society member and OGP enthusiast

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