By Musa Ubandawaki Sokoto
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the 2023 budget presented to the Sokoto State House of Assembly by Governor Àminu Waziri Tambuwal as a cover-up without any regard for voters.
Sokoto State APC Chairman Alhaji Isah Sadeeq Achida made the announcement during a press conference held at the State Party Secretariat Sultan Abubakar Road Sokoto on Tuesday.
He said it is disheartening to note that the governor has not said anything about the performance of the 2022 budget, but rather hidden details about his administration’s failure to avoid people’s public scrutiny.
“You may want to recall that a few days ago Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal presented what he chose to call the State House of Assembly a “budget of consolidation and finishing strong”. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a cover-up without consideration for the voters.”
“What we saw was nothing but the misplacement of priorities, a bundle of contradictions and goals to elevate the personal comfort of political office holders in addition to providing essential services to the people.”
“We find it hard to reconcile how a government that has sold most of our favorite homes at bargain prices, without disclosing the amount realized from the sale, is now turning around to buy a few derelict buildings in Nicon Quarters for 300 million Naira.
Duplication of projects has also been reported, where a road project (Dogondaji to Sabawa) quoted at 600 million naira was also duplicated at One Naira”
Achida went on to say that critical observation of the budget presentation shows that the key sectors of education, health and agriculture that are said to enjoy the lion’s share have in fact been downgraded by meager percentages in the capital breakdown.
He explained that the education sector, which was said to have received 18% of the sectoral allocation, was actually receiving less than 3% of the capital allocation.
According to him, the provision of 914 million nairas for relief to Covid19 victims seems rather suspicious at this point given that the impact of Covid was quite low in Sokoto state. Even the federal government has relaxed the Covid 19 protocol, which is a clear indication that the threat has drastically diminished.
He said it could have been better if the covid-19 allocation was intended to mitigate the effects of poverty inflicted on the people of Sokoto state by the seven years of PDP administration since a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics has shown that Sokoto leads the poverty table as all states of the Federation.
“We in the Sokoto State APC have followed with great interest the developments in the State House of Assembly where there has been a stalemate, arising from attempts to secure loans by the Sokoto State government, which has been met with fierce resistance of APC Legislative Members in the House”.
“Since its inauguration after the last election, a total of 89 billion naira loans have been approved by the house, with no commensurate performance to justify securing additional loans”.
“In the latest request, the members of the APC House insisted that the political heads of the relevant ministries or departments should be invited to inform the House of the desirability of the loans to lay the foundations for oversight functions by the members , and to pay them the ability to know the relevant accounting officers and political leaders who can be held accountable should the loans be misappropriated or misused.” Says APC chairman.
“We in the APC want to join our members in the Sokoto State House of Assembly and stand in solidarity with them where we
would like to strongly advise the lender banks not to grant the requested loans as it is at your own risk. As a popular wise saying goes, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed”. Achida warned.
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