By Jamila Kasim
Ahead of the 2024 fiscal year appropriation, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government in Nasarawa State have commenced submission of budget proposals to the State Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning.
Already, offices of the Governor and his Deputy, the Head of Service, office of the Secretary to the State Government are among other MDAs that have so far submitted their proposals to the Finance Ministry for scrutiny.
Speaking at the formal opening of the budget proposal at the Conference Hall of the Ministry, the Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Planning, Hajiya Munira Abdullahi expressed satisfaction with the submissions made thus far.
According to the Commissioner, “we had conversations around budget preparation, as this is the best time for them to begin to have this discussion with government MDAs.
“Some of the MDAs did brought their proposal, we looked at the actual spendings from the beginning of 2023 to date, and now we are able to look at what they proposed budget will be for the next year, 2024.”
Munira further stated that the Ministry is critically looking at the proposal with the relevant indexes and propose what will be the best feat for a realistic budget for Nasarawa State.
“We believe, with the robust discussions, we will make necessary adjustment from the submissions. We were thorough, looking at every figure, with the view to propose budget that will be meaningful to the people of the State in terms of expected revenue, actual expenditure and to propose what the future should look like.”
Akolo Peterson Ataka, the Director of Budget in the Ministry said, as the State is approaching another circle of budget preparation, the ministry had written MDAs of government to submit their proposal for the 2024 fiscal year.
He explained that the essence was to discuss ways forward as it concerns allocations and it importance to the increase in budget.
“So far, so good, the exercise has been a wonderful experience, and the discussion is basically bilateral, which is centered on why you are allocating figures and each of the economic line items and we see reasons why it is important to make necessary adjustment, by way of increase, should there be evidence why they are making such allocations to that item.
“And where there is too much allocation, we try to discuss together and to see how possible we can readjust it by taking part of it and taking it to a place that is more important, hence it is basically bilateral discussion.”
Ataka maintained that, “in looking at the budget that is realistic, we don’t want to have too much that, at the end of the day, the performance will be very low, because that is one indicator that will definitely affect our inflow from the federation account and others.
“What we are looking at is a budget that is neither low nor more from the previous year’s budget”.
The budget director said, government expenditures between January to August will determine whether the State was on track, to increase its budget in the coming fiscal year, to leave it as balance or to maybe reduce it.
“With the different structure of budget: surplus, deficit and balance budget. We will look at the strength of the State first. How much are we expecting, because from our analysis, we have seen that our inflow is not likely going to be more than what we are expecting this year.”
While stressing that, the State might not go over and above the budget for the previous year, Ataka said, “with the current economic uncertainty, our indicators may likely change to some level, because in our previous year, the macro economic indicator, we have 1.7 million barrel per day of crude oil. These are extragenous variables that affect every State.
“You look at the quantities of oil the country is expected to produce and that will determine the federation allocations, the rate of inflation, fluctuation in the foreign exchange, the subsidy removal and the floating of the naira is another big factor that determines what the inflow to the State, and that is affecting budgetary allocations this year, which may spiral down to 2024.
“We have so many factors that is playing around with the economy, which we are been careful how we can handle this, hence arriving at a figure for the appropriation year will determine our discussions with the MDAs and the state budget committee.
Ataka called on the MDAs to avoid playing with figures, as accuracy in calculation and computing will ease work and to enable them get it right.