The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Sokoto State, has described the 2023 budget proposal presented by Governor Àminu Waziri Tambuwal to the state House of Assembly as anti-people aimed at furthering the comfort of elites and political officeholders.
State APC Chairman Isah Achida, at a briefing yesterday at the party secretariat, Sultan Abubakar Road Sokoto, said it was disheartening that the Governor did not say anything about the performance of the 2022 budget, but buried details of his administration’s failure to avoid public scrutiny.
According to him, “You may wish to recall that a few days ago, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal presented before the State House of Assembly, what he chose to call, a “Budget of consolidation and finishing strong. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a cover- up exercise with no consideration for the electorate.
“What we saw, was nothing but misplacement of priorities, a bundle of contradictions aimed at uplifting the personal comfort of political office holders, over and above providing essential services to the people.
“We find it difficult to reconcile how a government that sold most of our choice houses at give away prices, without caring to disclose the amount realised from the sales, now turned around to purchase a few dilapidated structures at NICON Quarters forN300 million Naira.
“There is also the case of duplication of projects, where a road project (Dogondaji to Sabawa), quoted at N600million was also duplicated at one Naira”
Achida said critical observation of the budget presentation, showed that the key sectors of Education, Health and Agriculture mentioned as enjoying lion share allocations, were actually relegated with meagre percentages in the capital breakdown.
He explained that Education sector which was mentioned to have received 18 percent in the sectoral allocations, in actual fact, ended up with below three percent of the capital allocation.
According to him “the provision of N914million as assistance to COVID19 victims looks rather suspicious at this point in time, considering the fact that, the impact of COVID-19 was rather low in Sokoto State. Even the Federal Government has relaxed the COVID- 19 Protocol, which is a clear indication that the threat has drastically reduced.
He said it could have been better if the COVID -19 allocation was meant to cushion the effects of poverty, inflicted on the people of Sokoto State by the seven years of People’s Democratic Party, PDP administration, since a recent report of the National Bureau of Statistics has shown Sokoto as leading all the states of the Federation on the poverty table.
“We in the Sokoto State APC have been following developments in the State House of Assembly with keen interest where there has been a standoff, arising from moves to secure loans by the Sokoto State Government, which has met a stiff resistance from APC legislative members in the house.
“A total of N89 billion loans have been approved by the house since its inauguration after the last elections, without commensurate performance to justify further securing of additional loans.
“In the latest request, the APC house members insisted that the political heads of the relevant ministries or departments should be invited to brief the house on the desirability of the loans to provide basis for oversight function by the members, as well as afford them the opportunity to know the relevant accounting officers and political leaders to hold responsible, should the loans be misappropriated or misapplied.
“We in APC wish to align ourselves with our members in the Sokoto State House of Assembly and stand in solidarity with them where we wish to strongly advise the lender banks not to grant the loans being applied for, as doing so will be at their own risk. As a popular wise saying goes, “To be forewarned, is to be forearmed.”