By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Bauchi State Government has said that its 2023 annual budget would seek to consolidate on its achievements in the past three years and define a clear trajectory in the march forward, the governor, Senator Bala Mohammed has disclosed.
To this end, the governor directed that the 2023 budget should focus on sustaining-and improving on sectoral allocations to education and healthcare among other key critical sectors of the economy..
Governor Bala was speaking on Tuesday, while receiving UNICEF Chief of Field Office Bauchi Mr. Tushar Rane, and members of the delegation from Global Affairs Canada led by Ms. Djifa Ahado during a courtesy visit to the Government House, Bauchi.
He recalled that his administration has in the last three years made significant investments in the areas of infrastructural development, healthcare delivery, education, and water and sanitation among others.
“It is further worthy of mention that we have rolled out the implementation of the Nigeria-Cares Programme; an interventionist measure initiated with the World Bank aimed at improving the lives of our people from the crutches, of poverty, economic losses and deprivation exacerbated by the pandemic”.
The programme, he said, is providing social infrastructure service micro projects; delivering inputs and services to farmers; investing in various types of agricultural assets and infrastructure; improving food supply chains; and supporting programmes that increase employment, provide livelihood grants and social transfers to the vulnerable groups.
The Governor explained that the project similarly provides quick financial intermediation to needed enterprises in order to promote and facilitate household micro and small enterprises among others.
He emphasized that sustainability planning in the state is embedded through the effective linkage of the State Strategic Development Plan and the annual fiscal estimate aimed at ensuring a healthy implementation of the annual budget for sustained economic growth.
According to him, Bauchi, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and UNICEF have had a strong partnership aimed at promoting economic growth, sustainable livelihood and nutrition for sustainable poverty reduction, especially among the children, women and youth who constitute a larger part of the population.
He expressed gratitude to Global Affairs Canada for its numerous interventions that included Youth Entrepreneurship and Women’s Empowerment in Northern Nigeria (Nigeria WAY), being implemented with MEDA. in 7 LGA’s of Bauchi, Dass, Toro, Ganjuwa, Warji, Katagum and Jama’are.
The Governor further explained that the project is directly supporting a target population of over 16,000 mainly consisting of women and youth-led Small-Scale Businesses and Small Entrepreneurs.
“The overarching goal of the project is to enhance business performance in agricultural value chains, in order to improve the overall business environment and develop a culture of savings for women and youth and in the process, strengthen dialogue in communities and families about risks surrounding early and forced marriages”.
Senator Bala disclosed that the Livelihoods and Nutritional Empowerment (LINE)project had provided technical support towards improved livelihood targeting a population of 10,000 (60% women) of rural farmer households through increased farm productivity.
“It also enhanced market access, better nutrition for vulnerable enabling households and environment for enhanced agricultural business development. The project had promoted the development of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), Business Incubation Centres and Gender Action Learning Systems”.
The Global Affairs Canada led by Ms Djifa Ahado has earlier described Bauchi as a priority state for Canada, as a Canadian funding funding has been supporting Bauchi state for over 15 years now, saying it is a reflection on how strong Canada want the collaboration to continue in Nigeria and Bauchi in particular.
Ms. Dijfa Ahado who revealed that Nigeria is the 9th biggest trading partner of Canada globally, stressing “We are also proud to host Nigerian students in Canadian University, hoping the return to continue for the interest of Nigerian developmental goals”.
She said, “We want to see Bauchi state in Nigeria realize potentials for health and prosperity, and in this regard we are mindful of the health statistics for Bauchi in particular, those that are impacting on women and girls. According to the multi-indicator cluster survey 2021 health maternity in Bauchi state remains higher, as I in 5 children are fully immunized at the age of 2 and adolescent birth rate is the highest in Nigeria”.