By Yusuf Goje
For keen observers of happenings in Kaduna state over the past four years and counting, it should be common knowledge that a number of governance reforms have been initiated by the State government, largely driven under the Public Financial Management (PFM) system and Open Government Partnership (OGP). These reforms have been deployed towards achieving the developmental aspirations as captured in the State Development Plan (SDP 2016-2020).
The Plan, which has promised to deliver on jobs, social justice and prosperity, is now under review as we gradually go into its final year of implementation (2020). All the fourteen sectors covered in the document including the financial plan, strategic framework, implementation plan and result framework are presently undergoing performance review with the Planning & Budget Commission driving the process, supported by the Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL/DFID).
The Plan implementation which is focused on four key areas of Economic Development, Social Welfare, Security and Justice, and Governance has so far had its high and low moments as it strives to ‘Make Kaduna Great Again’. In order to translate this Development Plan into tangible results, each sector had to develop a Sector Implementation Plan (SIP, 2016-2019), which also serves as the linkage to the annual budget towards delivering on the outcomes specified by the Plan.
Consequently, it is expected to be guided by the principles of ensuring strong linkage of the SDP to the budget; a clear articulation of implementation mechanism; government business being conducted transparently and with full engagement and accountability to the Citizens of the State; and lastly, devolution of responsibilities and funding decisions to Local Governments (LGs) and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
In this regard, we are quick to ask if the State government has performed in the implementation of this ambitious Plan to the satisfaction of the ordinary Citizens. The answer will surely be relative, but it must be factored in that no government globally has been able to achieve hundred percent of its Development Plan’s expected outcomes due to political and socio-economic challenges. Nonetheless, we have seen governments in other climes, who are focused and strategic, weather the storms and are uplifting the living standard of their people.
In the case of Kaduna State, the State government in the Plan promised us that by 2020: we will be the destination for business investment and the food basket of Northern Nigeria; all Citizens will have access to quality healthcare and education; all Citizens will live and move freely without fear of harm; and they will run a transparent and accountable government with a highly motivated and efficient civil service.
Furthermore, over the five year period of the plan, the State government projected to generate an average revenue estimated at 124 billion naira annually; while public sector expenditure over the plan period is estimated at 638.7 billion naira; and also aspire to attract investment of over 800 billion naira through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mechanism in agro-allied industries, railway and road transport, hospitality and retail sectors.
Depending on where one stands, the result of the performance scorecard will be subjective base on how individually or collectively we have been affected by the quality of implementation or otherwise of the Plan. In order to provide a balanced analysis, it will be appropriate to highlight both the successes and challenges in the process of implementing the Plan over the past four to five years.
Towards actualizing the ambitious aspirations of the Plan, in line with Public Financial Management system we witnessed the operationalization by the government of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB). Furthermore, key laws were passed such as the Fiscal Responsibility Law 2016, Public Procurement Law 2016, Tax Codification and Consolidation Law 2016, Public Finances (Control and Management) Law 2016, Kaduna Geographic Information Service Law 2018, among others.
As a result of this laws we have witnessed the establishment of the Kaduna State Fiscal Responsibility Commission (KADFRC), Kaduna Public Procurement Authority (KADPPA), Kaduna Internal Revenue Service (KAD-IRS), Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS). Another key initiative established is the establishment of Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA). The State government also made commitment in the Plan to restore the minimum ratio of capital to recurrent expenditure of 60:40, which has consistently been met and exceeded as reflected in the 2020 budget.
Commendably, the signing onto the OGP, both at national then global level, has seen increase in spaces for Citizen’s engagement; and improvements in transparency and accountability. Recently the State was rated as the most transparent in Nigeria according to the Public and Private Development Center’s annual report on Open State Government Ranking.
Vital documents are now made public, Citizen’s are now consulted during the development of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and budget town-hall meetings are regularly held. Even though more needs to be done towards deepening the quality of the Citizen’s engagement during these consultations and town-hall meetings, institutionalizing the key principles especially at MDAs level, timely responsiveness, and increasing Citizens awareness and participation.
Also, worthy of commendation is the stepping down of the local government version of the Development Plan in the 23 LGAs, which is aimed at enhancing planning synergy between the two tiers and ensure plan and expenditure coordination. Another commendable masterstroke are the initiatives of the Community Development Charter (CDC) to deepen Citizen’s participation in budget formulation and Local Government Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (LFTAS) program to improve service delivery, both at the LG level.
In addition, the State has attracted a number of private sector investments in key sectors especially in agro-allied industries and Infrastructural development. As for infrastructure, only recently the State witnessed increased activities as a result of the urban renewal project. This is understandable due to challenges in generating and accessing expected revenue to fund the budget.
With these far-reaching governance reforms and service delivery activities that are geared towards achieving the overarching goal and priorities captured in the SDP, many keen observers argue that these have not translated into the transformational and inclusive development expected by Citizens. Seemingly so, as there has been too much emphasis on outputs as against meeting outcome targets as captured in the Plan.
They hinge their argument on the fact that the State is said to be far from meeting many of the outcome targets captured in the result framework of the SDP. Furthermore, that the development witnessed so far in the State has not been distributed equitably across the three senatorial zones. More so, that it has been concentrated more in the urban local government areas as against rural areas that host 76% of the total State population.
Another major challenge was funding. Up untill this year, 2019, the State has struggled to meet some of its revenue targets, even though there is evident progression in generation. The trend shows that Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in 2016 – out of the target sum, only 50.9% was realized; it went up to 53.5% in 2017; and moved to 68.6% in 2018.
So also, the drive to access loans has not met the targets; the trend, except for 2019 (the State government accessed 53,982,768,113.70 billion naira part of the World Bank concessional multilateral loans P4R), has shown non-performance over the plan period. It shows that in 2016 – only 28.5% was realized out of the total target; it marginally improved to 28.7% in 2017 and dropped drastically to 8.5% in 2018.
As a result, the State government had over the years met globally recommended budgetery benchmark in key sectors like health and education; however, releases and cashbacking have not matched the estimates. For instance, in the health sector, in 2018 – 7,980,126,289 billion naira was budgeted for the Ministry of Health & Human Services (headquarters) only 1,470,974,441 billion naira was released, that is 18.4% of what was budgeted.
Also, as regards service delivery, the last quarterly report of the Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM) on the upgrade of the 255 Primary HealthCare (PHCs), of which there is still a debate on the actual number completed so far, and the Save One Million Lives program, both scorecards were not encouraging in terms of performance. On the other hand, other critical sectors like Agriculture has continued to suffer from low budgetery allocations, releases and cashbacking. Considering that the sector is the highest employer of labor at 42% with 1.3million households engaged in it and contributes 36% of our GDP.
Other challenges faced by the SDP 2016-2020 implementation are: inability to effectively streamline the budget size and aspirations with revenue mobilization; low citizen’s awareness and ownership of the SDP; absence of annual stakeholder’s review of the SIP and midterm review of the SDP; inconsistency between the annual budget and SIP in many of the sectors; inadequate and untimely remittance of revenue generated on behalf of the LGAs by the State government; inadequate up-to-date data to measure progress. For instance, the Planning & Budget Commission is expected to produce a regular impact evaluation report of the SDP through its leadership of the State Bureau of Statistics. Over the years, if this has been done, then it has not been made public.
In line with the outcome level results of the current SDP, and with the Plan almost coming to an end, some of the key questions for the State government to answer are: have we increased the quality of education at levels? have we reduced infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, preventable diseases? have we increased yield of major crops in metric tons per hectare? have we increased production of minerals in the State and the contribution to the GDP? have we increased percentage of the population with decent and affordable housing?
Despite the answers to the above questions, another opportunity has presented itself for the government to address some of the the blockages that so far have hindered the smooth implementation of the current Plan, as only recently, the State government commenced review of the SDP in preparation for 2021-2025. Two civil society partners, Aid Foundation and Coalition of Associations for Leadership Peace Empowerment & Development (CALPED), were supported by the Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL) to be part of the 3-day validation of the zero draft of the review.
The key blockages identified by the civil society at the review engagement were: inadequate up-to-date sectors-specific data will hinder a comprehensive review; there was low civil society participation in the SIP reviews in many of the sectors; some MDA representatives were not clear on their sectorial mandates; many of the outcome targets set in the result framework by a number of the sectors are unrealistic; the lack of review of the Local Government Development Plan before the SDP review makes it difficult to evaluate how the former has so far influenced the implementation of the later.
As the SDP review process, in preparation for 2021-2025, is ongoing by State government through the Planning & Budget Commission, in order to address the highlighted blockages the process should: ensure wider and robust stakeholders engagement; enable citizen’s buy-in & ownership by enhancing permanent dialogue mechanism under the OGP; strengthen linkage btw the SDP, SIP and budgets; enhance credible and timely data collection, management, access & utilization during the Plan implementation; and review some of the outcome targets to become more realistic.
Others are: increased quality of oversight by the State House of Assembly supported by civil society partners; ensure adequate, timely and transparent budget spending; increase commitment to annual SIP review; improve on effectively communicating progress during the implementation of the SDP; hold periodic state-wide Citizens Perception Surveys in order to sustain alignment between the plan & the people’s aspirations; and strengthen and align staff capacity to the plan strategy.
In conclusion, we must endeavor to see the cup as half full rather than half empty. Regardless of the divide in terms of scoring the performance of the State government in line with the present Plan, everyone has a stake in the review process, implementation and evaluation of the 2021-2025 SDP performance. As for Citizens, we should note that the quality of our participation will determine the quality of development we get.
Yusuf Ishaku Goje
Head – Leadership, Governance & Advocacy
Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED)