By Mumini Abdulkareem
Kwara State House of Assembly will go ahead to approve the N135 billion budget size sent to the lawmakers by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed last year, National Pilot authoritatively gathered, last night.
A top member of one of the committees saddled with the responsibility of working on the proposal sent to the House, told this medium that although there were massive adjustments made to the budget, the lawmakers will pass the figure quoted by the Governor.
The lawmaker, who revealed that the legislature altered the budget of four ministries, explained that some sub heads discovered to be unimportant were shelved.
The source added that “but after all the alterations and balancing made, the original budget size of N135 billon will be passed at the end of the day.
Asked when the lawmakers will finally approve the budget, he said probably this week or latest, next week.
“All the MDAs and parastatals have finished their defence and we have summoned the commissioners to come and explain some of the lines we feel were not well explained and have altered it by increasing where necessary, reducing and even outright cancellation as the case may be.
“What is important to us is not just to pass the budget or please anybody but to have a realistic budget at the end of the day.
“But irrespective of the alterations made, I can tell you authoritatively that the budget size of N135billion will be passed by the lawmakers this week or at most next week.
The source added that the ministries where major alterations were made include Education, Agriculture, Works and Transport where the allocations were massively jacked up in line with realities on ground and the need to have a working budget.
It was further gathered that during budget defence of some MDAs, the lawmakers where seriously miffed by the meagre sum of N133 million that was budgeted for Agriculture.
Another source told National Pilot that the amount was subsequently increased to N6.7 billion from the ‘miserable’ N133 million.
“How can we say we want to diversify the economy and engage the youth to walk the state out of recession and yet see what was budgeted for a sector with the largest capacity to increase our IGR and engage the youth,” the lawmaker added.
On the Light Up Kwara Project (LUK), a lawmaker said there are still some issues that needed to be sorted out adding that, “I think the issue is with the Ministry of Planning and I cannot say whether it is still coming or not.
Some of the lawmakers had told this medium that the House may alter the budget and reduce the allocation for some items and ministries found unnecessary.
Recall that the House committee Chairman on Energy, Works and Transport, Hon. Mathew Olaitan Babaoye had sought further clarification on the Light Up Kwara project before it can appropriate funds for it in the 2017 budget.
Babaoye explained that the House was yet to be convinced on the modus operandi, funding and viability of the project, with its first phase expected to cover Ilorin metropolis. According to the budget proposal presented by Governor Ahmed, the project is expected to gulp over N730m.
The committee therefore urged the executive arm of government and management of IF-K to furnish it with detailed information.