By Mamman Mohammed
For two consecutive years, independent organisations on budget implementation, accountability, good governance and service delivery have rated Yobe State with a record-breaking ranking in institutionalization and consolidation of reforms that promote good governance and service delivery.
According to BugdIT, its mission is “to make the Nigerian budget and public data more understandable and accessible across every literacy span. BudgIT’s innovation within the public cycle comes with a creative use of government data by either presenting these in simple tweets/interactive formats or infographic displays. Our primary goal is to use creative technology to intersect civic engagement and institutional reform.”
In 2020, BudgIT, an independent organisation on budget monitoring and implementation in Nigeria, rated Yobe State as the second best state, after Kaduna state, in capital budget expenditure performance.
The record performance of Governor Mai Mala Buni’s administration is hugely supported by budget discipline, financial prudence and transparency, as testified to by BudgIT, to achieve the transformation in education, healthcare delivery, trade and commerce, roads and housing, agriculture and economic development, among others in Yobe State.
The organization rated Yobe as the sixth state with low loan profile, with more chances to borrow more funds, either local or foreign, to invest in infrastructure to build a sustainable future for the state, to improve the lives of its people.
“It is among states with comparatively low debt burden, whose debt profile are so low that they can theoretically pay it off in a single year using the 2020 total revenue model.
“Directing our attention to capital expenditure, year-on-year, we observe Yobe State had the 12th largest percentage growth in capital expenditure in the federation. The state’s capital expenditure grew by 23.49% from N30.09bn in 2019 to N37.16bn in 2020,” BudgIT stated.
The economic reforms and financial discipline under the Buni administration were further consolidated in the year 2021, thereby attracting more attention to the performance of the state.
The ranking of Yobe State as the 16th state with comparative more public funds to invest in capital projects also underscores the prudence of the Buni administration.
Summarising the fiscal performance of the states in relation to index A (Recurrent Expenditure), B (IGR + Statutory Allocations + Capital Reciepts), C (Debt profile and room states have to borrow more money) and D (Priority to Capital Expenditure), BudgIT opined that “the fiscal fundamentals of Yobe State, compared to others in the country, are more prudently managed.”
Similarly, the Center for Transparency and Integrity Watch, Nigeria, another independent organisation, rated Yobe State as the sixth state in Nigeria, scoring 58.33% with clean records of transparency in transaction of government business.
This transparency translates into accountability, probity and service delivery to the people for government to get value for public funds expended on programmes and projects.
It is obvious that the reforms introduced in governance by the Buni administration are paying and yielding positive results for the development of the state.
Gov. Buni, at a recent forum in Damaturu, dedicated the success recorded by his administration to the people for supporting government policies and programmes, and to the civil servants for their resilience to push forward and consolidate government policies and programmes.
The searchlight beamed on the fiscal status of the states, the analysis and ratings by these independent non-governmental organisations, will no doubt spur the state government to do more and improve for the betterment of the people.
For Yobe, having fared well in financial prudence and accountability in the last two years, the state under the leadership of Gov. Buni, is certainly on the path of becoming a role model of judicious use of public funds, accountability, good governance and service delivery in Nigeria.
•Mohammed is the DG, press and media affairs to Yobe State governor