For decades, economists discussed the relevance of fiscal policy on the assumption that it could be effectively used in ensuring economic and employment stability by screening out cyclical fluctuations, accelerating economic growth and reducing inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth.
Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State, by the presentation of his 2016 Budget, tagged Budget of Consistency and Transformation, is leading the mantra of change, which has been the sing-song of his administration long before the clarion call of the current national leadership.
Right from his first term as Gombe governor, between 2011-2015, Governor Dankwambo has been an embodiment of revolutionary policy initiatives. That was given expression by his infrastructural renewal in the state, most significantly in the education sector. He focused extensively on the revival of institutions to restore societal values, calling on all to cooperate with him in discharging his democratic responsibilities to his people.
During his budget presentation in December, during which he presented a budget of N 76, 546, 912, 032.94 (Seventy- Six Billion, Five Hundred and Forty-Six Million, Nine Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Thirty-Two Naira and Ninety-Four Kobo Only), Governor Dankwambo went down memory lane, reminding the Honorable Members of the State House of Assembly that the crucial “Change Mantra” of the national leadership is as old as the philosophy of his administration in Gombe.
“Here in Gombe, we have no problem with the change mantra of the national leadership as we jump-started that kind of change at the inception of our administration in 2011,” Governor Dankwambo said.
It is satisfying that Governor Dankwambo’s policy initiatives in the governance of Gombe is being considered a reference point by analysts, researchers, and indeed everyone who cared about good governance.
Based on Gombe’s peculiar economic reality, and in response to the changing global scenario and world economic order, Governor Dankwambo explained that some of his major interventions and policies were deliberately institutionalised in a way that the wind of change blowing across the nation could not sweep his administration away.
He reminded the citizens that the era of reliance on the federal government to run the machinery of government is gone, warning citizens of the need to tighten their belts and look inwards for the development of the state.
The governor also urged citizens to consider the state’s 2016 budget as a potent tool for the transformation of the state, that should be usedjudiciously, with discretion and thoughtful planning.
Part of the governor’s new initiatives is the establishment of an Inter-ministerial Committee on Internally-Generated Revenue, charged with a mandate to raise the revenue profile of the state by blocking leakages and exploring all sources of revenues.
A detailed examination of the state’s 2016 budget showed that despite the dwindling oil revenue, the government demonstrated strong commitment to funding several projects in the areas of Agriculture, Education and Health.
The administration made a lot of effort to address the challenges being faced in the agricultural sector by providing for the procurement and distribution of 225 brand new tractors and for employment of 47 tractor drivers, technicians and artisans to facilitate access to land and its cultivation.
The government also plans to distribute 110, 000 tonnes of fertilizes to farmers at subsidized rates.
Provisions have also been made for the:
❖ Procurement and the distribution of 2, 280 work bulls and ox-drawn ploughs.,
❖ Provision of improved seedlings and purchase of farming implements.,
❖ Procurement and distribution of 8, 000 water pumps to dry season farmers.
The government has consistently try to establish agriculture as the mainstay of the state’s economy. That measure translated to an improved agricultural output from 658, 350 metric tonnes in 2010 to 1,385,960 metric tonnes in 2013.
To increase access to credit by farmers, the administration has so far disbursed N600 million naira under what it called Gombe State Revolving Agricultural Fund.
The Dankwambo-led administration, at his inception in 2011, declared a State of Emergency in the Education sector following the rot prevalent in the sector in the pre-Dankwambo era. New schools were renovated and constructed including, 18, 999 classrooms, hostels, staff quarters and 53 laboratories.
The governor tackled headlong the monsters retarding the advancement of education in the state. Governor Dankwambo’s exceptionalfocus on the needs of the downtrodden mark him out as an outstanding performer never seen since the creation of Gombe state in October 1996.
Despite the phenomenal achievements of hisadministration in the education sector, and in the improvement of service delivery through human capital development and strengthening of institutions, the governor said there is still a lot of work to be done.
He promised that during the 2016 fiscal year, his administration would continue to sustain the huge investment in Education, Physical Infrastructure, Agriculture, Health, Poverty Reduction, Rural Development, and Water Supply, among others.
SECTORIAL FOCUS OF THE 2016 BUDGET
The economic sector, which is expected to stimulate growth and development and provide extensive investment base for the state is to gulp an appreciable chunk of the budget — an estimated N 760, 000, 000.00 (Seven Hundred and Sixty Million Naira Only)
This sector includes Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Science and Minerals Development, Rural Development, Trade and Industry, Works and Infrastructure, Water, Housing and Transport, Town and County Planning.
The Social Sector, which included Education, has been allocated over six billion naira (N 6, 200, 000, 000.00)
The amount will be used on projects such as theaccreditation and conversion of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and School of Health Technology into colleges with the flexibility to upscale their courses.
The sum of N 1, 100, 000, 000.00 (One billion, One Hundred Million Naira Only) has been voted for Higher Education while Health gets N 2, 668, 000, 000.00 (Two billion, Six Hundred and Sixty- Eight million Naira Only).
Youth Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation has an allocation of N 750, 000, 000.00 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only); Women Development and Empowerment N 265, 000.000.00 (Two Hundred and Sixty- Five Million Naira Only); Sports Development, N 250, 000.000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only) while Culture and Tourism got an allocation of N 80, 000.000.00 (Eighty Million Naira Only).
Local Government/Community Development, and Environment/ General Administration got allocation of N 20, 000, 000.000 (Twenty million Naira Only); N 1, 522, 000, 000.00 (One billion, Five Hundred and Twenty-Two million Naira Only) respectively.
Law and Justice was allocated N 720, 000, 000, 00 (Seven Hundred and Twenty Million Naira Only).
In his address to the House of Assembly, Governor Dankwambo said in order to deliver development to the people and the state, there is need to raise funds by using the capital market to finance infrastructural development. He also hinted at his plan to review and prioritise the State’s Revenue and Public Expenditure framework.
On peace and security, Governor Dankwambo drew the attention of the Assembly members to the prevailing peace and security in the state, making it the only state within the North-East sub-region to enjoy relative peace and security.