By Philip Yatai

Dr Peter Adamu of the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, has urged the Kaduna State Assembly to consider increasing budgetary allocations for poverty alleviation programmes in the state.

Adamu made the call during the public hearing on the N370.3 billion proposed 2023 budget organised by the State Assembly with support from Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn.  

He described human capital development as an “essential part of developing a nation”, adding, however, that allocations to government institutions responsible for training high and middle level manpower were underfunded.  

He also expressed concern that the budgetary allocation to sectors meant to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment have remained low.

According to him, the level of poverty has remained very high in the state, stressing the need to increase funding of poverty alleviation ministries, departments, and agencies.

“For example, the Ministry for Human Services and Social Development got N1.3 billion representing 0.36 per cent of the N370.3 billion proposed budget for the year.

“Also, the Ministry for Business Innovation and Technology also got N1.7 billion only, representing 0.45 per cent of the total budget for the year.

“Community and Social Development Agency also got a meagre sum of N2.3 billion representing 0.62 per cent, while the State Rehabilitation Board got N304.7 million representing 0.08 per cent of the total budget

“These allocations are grossly inadequate to address the issue of poverty affecting a larger portion of the state population.”

He called on the lawmakers to consider increased allocation to these critical ministries, departments and agencies to be able to implement women and youth empowerment as well as poverty alleviation programmes.

Adamu also expressed concern over the state’s reliance on external sources to finance the N370.3 billion proposed budget, adding that the N370.3 billion proposed budget was too ambitious.

He said that the government was expecting to generate N93 billion from Internal Generated Revenue, meaning that 75 per cent of the budget would be financed by debt, grant and statutory allocation. 

He called on the lawmakers to consider realistic budgeting in line with the recommendations of Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, stressing that depending on external funds exposed the budget to volatilities.

Responding, the Deputy speaker, Mr Isaac Auta, who presided over the hearing, thanked members of the academia for their observation and promised that the lawmakers would look into the concerns.

Auta explained that the public hearing was organised to get feedback and inputs from the citizens to inform the budget.

“This is part of the government’s commitment to open governance and citizens’ engagement in the budgeting processes,” he said.