By Oyewale Oyelola
Kwara State in the recent years has witnessed significant level of development in every sector of the state due to huge investment in capital projects by Governor AbdulFatai Ahmed led administration. Kwara State Government has consistently for over four years allocated over fifty percent of the State annual budget to capital expenditures to fast track development across the state.
In 2016, the state government allocated about N60billion out N116billion total budget estimate which was a shift from usually government budgeting system where larger share goes to recurrent expenditures. The budget tagged “budget of introspection and sustenance” without mincing words created platform for government to fulfill the shared prosperity agenda of Governor Ahmed through geometric increment in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by Kwara State Internal Revenue Service and introduction of Infrastructural Development Fund (IF-K).
Furthermore, N90billion was earmarked for capital expenditures in 2017 fiscal year from N160billion revised budget estimate. Capital projects captured expansion of Kwara State University in Ilesa Baruba, Ekiti and Postgraduate School situated in Ilorin, completion of International Vocational Training and Entrepreneurship centre, Ajase Ipo, Dualisation of Ganmo-Olunlade Road, Dualisation of UITH-Oyun-Sango road, Geri Alimi Diamond Intercharge bridge, building of new secretariat, construction of access roads across the three senatorial districts among other projects that have turned State of Harmony to construction sites.
Governor Ahmed while presenting 2018 budget at Kwara State House of Assembly Chamber disclosed that 2017 budget has achieved 71 perfect performance ratio despite the economic recession in the country. The governor added that the government completed seventeen roads, IVTEC and other laudable projects during the fiscal year. He recently approved N82million for reconstruction of collapsed Alagbado bridge. This shows the State government is responsive and responsible to the populace that gave them the mandate in 2015.
The Visionary Governor in his bid to facilitate massive development of Kwara State presented a budget estimate of N181, 886, 056, 555.00 for the 2018 Financial Year.
The budget christen “Budget of Sustained Growth and Prosperity”, indicates the sum of N75,204,257,902 representing 41.3% is for recurrent expenditure, while total sum of N106,681,798,630 which represents 58.7% is earmarked for capital expenditure.
According to the governor, the 2018 budget proposal is formulated using the zero-based budgeting approach and its projections were based on the federal government adopted assumptions of oil price benchmark of $45 per barrel and oil production estimate of two point three million barrels per day.
Therefore, the huge allocation for capital projects by Kwara State Government could be describe as a deliberate and planned attempt to double effort of current administration to bring meaningful development to key sectors in order better the lots of Kwarans and residents.
Moreover, it would also hasten development of rural areas with allocation of over N200million as counterpart fund to access N1.8billion credit facilities for construction of 300km roads in all the sixteen local government areas.
The budget will facilitate the completion of Geri Alimi Diamond Interchange bridge, dualisation of Ganmo-Olunlade road, dualisation of UITH-Oyun-Sango road and other ongoing projects scattered all over the State. While other projects tailored to improve welfare and standard of living of the people would be initiated and properly completed in the same year.
Apparently, 2018 is a unique year for Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed because it’s the only remaining year he will oversee full budget implementation as the second term tenure ends in May 2019.
If the budget is fully implemented, 2018 is going to be season of project commissioning in the State. The innovation/sustainable policies such as establishment of KW-IRS and IF-K earlier introduced by the Share born governor cum the favourable economic projection for the country as whole would have positive impact on budget performance of Kwara State.
Although, it is not yet UHURU for the State of Harmony as the governor recently acknowledged that there is need to do more works but one thing is sure, the performing, innovative, resilient and proactive governor of the North Central State would leave a better, economic viable, investors/tourists friendly, strong and beautiful Kwara State in 2019.