Kaduna State Government on Saturday presented the draft 2018 Budget Estimates to its citizens in a town hall meeting.

The measure is aimed at allowing citizens of the state to make their input in the budget after which the State Executive Council will approve the final estimate on Monday 9th October.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai is expected to present the final draft estimate to the Kaduna State House of Assembly on October 12th for consideration and passage into law.

The State Government proposed to spend N201,049,213,385.77 with capital budget gulping N125,500, 774,460.66 and recurrent expenditure set at N75,548, 438, 925.12.

Presenting the draft budget, Governor El-Rufai called on the citizens to suggest projects they want the government to execute for them, saying the last two budgets for 2016 and 2017 were increased after citizens recommended projects. El-Rufai said the town hall meeting is a platform for citizens and government to engage, obtain feedback and share ideas. He said the state government has made the draft budget available on the internet for people to study and make contributions.

He commended the State House of Assembly for passing the state budgets in record time since 2015 to enable implementation to commence by 1st of January of every year.

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Uba Sani, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Intergovernmental Affairs, explained that through the town hall meetings, the 2016 and 2017 budgets were increased after input of citizens were captured before they were sent to the State House of Assembly for passage into law.

“The 2016 budget was raised from N169b to N171b, an increase of 5bn, while the 2017 budget was raised from N189b to N215bn, and increase of N26 billion, to accommodate projects suggested by people at the town hall meetings.”

The 2018 draft budget estimate of N201, 049, 213,385.77 maintained a priority for capital spending which is set at N125,500,774,460,66, making up 62.4% of the budget proposals. Recurrent expenditure is set at N75,548,438,925,12 or 37.6% of the budget.

The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Sani Abdullahi said the 2018 budget targets the completion of capital projects begun in 2017 and the delivery of public goods as outlined in the State Development Plan (2015-2020).

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Right Honorable Yakubu Barde, the Minority Whip and member representing Chikun Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, commended Governor Nasir el-rufa’i for carrying the citizens of the state along by given them a platform to air their views and criticisms, saying “when it comes to governance partisanship must be set aside.”

Garba Shehu Sarkin Noma, Member representing Sanga/ Jema’a Federal Constituency said though he is a member of the PDP, but “we must commend good things no matter where they came from.” He said the administration of Malam Nasir el-Rufa’i is  ‘building enduring institutions’ that will outlast his administration, especially the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance. Sarkin Noma called for the implementation of the Anchor Borrower scheme in Southern Kaduna to empower the youth in agriculture.