By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of measures to check programmes and policies implementation in Kaduna State, the state government has urged development partners to always note observations on challenges and successes and discuss them with the government.
The States Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, Muhammad Abdullahi, who stated this in his opening remarks at a ‘Coordination Meeting with Development Partners’ on Tuesday, said, as a state, the support being provided by partners is an integral part of development in the state.
“As a state government, the support that partners provides is an integral part of our development, we won’t want them to waste their funds, the same way we will not allow our funds to be wasted.
“The rationale behind this coordination meeting between our international development partners, is because we want to ensure that the state and its partners are aligned and going in the same direction. Many times, states and governments waste resources through duplication, through lack of alignment with the partners that are supporting it.
“Ultimately, we want partners to support us in the direction we want go, we don’t want partners coming to Kaduna with different programmes that distracts us. We want to save our resources and we also want to save the development partners resources.
“So what we try to do during this meeting, is to discuss what we are doing in Health and what can we do together. As you can see, all our development partners are here, this meetings are very important because sometimes they themselves discovered that they are duplicating each other.
“So instead of just doing the same thing, they allow one person to take one part of health sector and others take some others and do it, we have done this now for about two and half years and we have significantly found the difference, how our relationship is working and how we have been able to achieve and they are all successful.
“What we are doing ultimately is to ensure the efficiency of public spending and also the efficiency of development partners, both locally and internationally.”
The Commissioner regretted some cases where the state was not able to pay her counterpart funds, saying it was not deliberate, but was as a result of failure to secure a World Bank loan due to political reasons.
According to him, “we were supposed to give our counterpart funds, but we were not able, not because we don’t want to, but because the cash were not there. A budget is a plan, you put in all your revenue sources, we had already gotten a World Bank approval by the end of last year.
“Because is the best practice, constitutionally required best financial management practice for you to include all your revenue sources and then you put on all your expenditure items also. So we had included about N80 billion in the 2018 budget which unfortunately due to some politics, the National Assembly did not approve.
“So we do have an N80 billion hole in the budget which we have been trying to cover, we have been working to raise the revenue of the state, internally generated and for the first time, we hit N3 billion, Kaduna before we came in, used to be N800 million a month for revenue and now it is N3 billion which is good, and we are trying as much as possible to reduce the cost of governance, we have some difficulties but we have back up plans and we are working with them, we are coordinating with our partners and they are supporting us.
Some the partners who spoke, commended the state government for it’s commitment and cooperation by giving the opportunity to work with the state.
Ms. Mariama Darboe, Head of Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Kaduna Sub-office, who spoke on behalf of all UN agencies working in Kaduna, said they are in the to share their global experience in development.
According to her, the UN family are in the state to support government in different areas of interest as part the UN objectives in that citizens lives quality life.
Also speaking, Abel Adejor, Kaduna State Team Leader, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn – Engaging Citizens Pillar, (PERL-ECP), explained that his organization was instrumental to the Kaduna state attainment of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), by providing technical support.
“We also support the state House of Assembly in terms of technicalities in their budgeting process and see how citizens could make inputs in the budget process. We also serve as link between the media and the government by mobilising the to know what government is doing and how they can monitor the progress.” Adejor added.