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N2.47bn for air travel, N734m for donations, outfits — inside Zamfara’s 2021 budget

N2.47bn for air travel, N734m for donations, outfits — inside Zamfara’s 2021 budget
February 15
12:50 2021

Zamfara state has earmarked N2 billion for the government house’s “air transport” expenses in its 2021 budget.

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In the budget document seen by TheCable, another N470 million was budgeted for the international flights of all ministries, departments and agencies (MDA).

The government house also got an allocation of N1 billion each for the purchase of water equipment and electrical cables.

The sum of N500 million was also set aside as welfare packages for just the seat of power, which also got another N500 million for “special days and celebrations”.

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GOVERNOR TO SPEND BUDGET OF 20 GENERAL HOSPITALS ON OWN MEDICALS

Bello Matawalle, the state governor, got an allocation of N150 million for his medical expenses.

About 65 percent (N100 million) of the money will go into his medical care abroad while the remaining N50 million will be for such expenses in Nigeria.

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But that is not the real gist: The money is equivalent to the allocation of the 20 general hospitals listed in the budget.

It also comprises 90 percent of what was allocated for the total expenses of overseas treatment for government officials: N167 million.

ZAMFARA TO SPEND N476M ON DONATIONS

A common trend which TheCable found across all the MDAs is the allocation of funds for donations.

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Such “generosity” is curious for a state that has 74 percent of its citizens living in poverty  — that is, having real per capita expenditures below N137,430 per year — according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

For instance, the governor and deputy governor are to spend N165 million on donations, 35 percent of the N476 million set aside for that purpose across all MDAs.

For a state that had 422,000 out-of-school children as of 2018 — one of the highest in the country according to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) — such an amount would certainly have a huge impact on the education sector.

Checks by TheCable revealed that N10 million can be used to construct a standard block of four classrooms, based on the rate in federal government budgets. This means that the money Zamfara state is seeking to donate for various purposes could be used in constructing 47 blocks of four classrooms across the state.

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GOV’S WIFE TO GET EQUIVALENT OF 21 SCHOOLS’ ALLOCATION

Zamfara remains one of the many states in Nigeria operating a ceremonial office of the first lady.

Under the governor’s office, a sum of N132 million was set aside for “activities of (the) first lady”, without stating what those activities are to give room for accountability.

The money is equivalent to the allocation of 21 government secondary schools which got N6.2 million each.

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N228M FOR HOTEL BOOKINGS ABROAD, N258M FOR OUTFITS

The state also budgeted the sum of N228 million for hotel reservations abroad in 2021, out of which N100 million would come from the office of the secretary to the state government (SSG).

Of that amount also, the governor’s office gets N12 million while the state house of assembly was allocated N60 million.

About nine other government agencies also got budgetary allocation for hotel reservations abroad — and this is not included in expenditure for some international training.

Zamfara also set aside the sum of N258 million for outfits for government officials under 10 different MDAs.

The office of the SSG got a lion’s share with N100 million, followed by the Shariah court of appeal (N52 million), the high court (N33.5 million), state house of assembly (N23 million) and ministry of justice (N20 million), among others.

N2BN FOR AIRPORT, N1.61BN FOR RENT, N87.3M ESCORTS & PRIVATE SECURITY

Another common trend in the budget is the allocation for rent across most MDAs, with some running into hundreds of millions.

The state allocated N1.6 billion as rent in 2021, with entities such as the Hajj Commission and office of the SSG getting the highest sums of N343 million and N266 million respectively.

Apart from funds for security agencies and aides, the state is also seeking to employ the services of escorts and private security operators for the sum of N87.3 million.

Some of the other highlights of the 2021 budget include the allocation of N2 billion for the construction of Gusau International Airport, a project the state had estimated will get N11.5 billion and which had been allocated N6 billion in 2020.

As the state continues to battle insecurity, it is also looking to inject N200 million into its amnesty programme, same as last year’s allocation, while three projects related to grazing reserves will gulp N354 million.

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