The Taraba state House of Assembly has increased the 2023 budget presented to the lawmakers by the state governor, Darius Ishaku, by N500 million.
The 2023 appropriation bill Wednesday scaled through the first, second and third reading simultaneously and is awaiting the assent of the state Governor.
The approved 2023 budget by the lawmakers now stands at N173, 234, 537, 456.40 as against the N172, 734, 537, 459.40 presented to the assembly by Governor Ishaku.
Giving reasons for the increment, Speaker of the state assembly, Joseph Albasu Kunini, said the additional N500 million injected by the lawmakers will serve the Taraba State Independent Electoral Commission, TSIEC which was initially omitted.
Kunini insists that the lawmakers observed that the Commission had no appropriation in the 2023 budget presented to the assembly by the state governor, hence the addition of N500 million to enable the Commission conduct Local government election if the need arises.
” Yes today we’ve passed the budget and the initial budget size presented by his Excellency to the Assembly was 172 billion and today what the house has passed into law is 173 billion naira which entails their is an increase of 500 million naira”
” I would like you to understand that budget is a mere estimate and not a factual fact figuratively and as such the house constitutionally and legally has the right to look into the budget and do the needful, hence if their is any sector that ought to have gotten a higher percentage of the budget, then the house has the right to jack it up.
”In this regard we discovered that the Taraba state independent electoral commission was not allocated any fund and to the best of our knowledge, within the twelve calendar month their could be a reason the state government could embark on local government elections ”
” We did that so that we do not have course to regret in the future ”
Regarding the statement by president Buhari that no state government should handover any debt to incoming administration, the speaker says the Federal government has no right to declare that no state should handover a debt free account.
”The fundamental thing I’ll like to raise is whether the federal government has the right to declare that no state should handover to another government a debt free account.
”If Federal government has the right, then what has the Federal government given to states so that they can give dividends of democracy to citizens without any debt.
”Its the issue of you telling us not to do XYZ and you did not provide solutions to that and no government can govern the people without debt because governance is development and development entails spending.
”Therefore we are not saying that we are encouraging the state Governor to incurre debts, but off course if the debts are within the reasonable timeframe of government, then their is nothing wrong in doing that.
”To tell you more, most of the state Governors are on transition and it means whatever they’ll like to do, they will like to wrap up their project and it might entail securing loans and debts ”
He also explained the reason for the speedy passage of the appropriation bill to ensure dividends of democracy all year round.