The Chairman, House committee on Finance and Appropriation, has said that there is confirmation that the state would be paid over N24 billion, being monies expended on the execution of federal roads in the state.
The 2016 Appropriation Bill which had passed through second reading on 16th February was forwarded to the Finance and Appropriation committee for further deliberations which attracted several public hearings from ministries, departments and agencies.
In a plenary session presided over by the Speaker, Mark Bako Useni, the House was dissolved into the Committee of Supplies which heralded the lowering of the mace under the chairmanship of the Speaker.
According to the Chairman of the committee, Edward Gideon Baraya, who read the report, the over N24 billion naira to be refunded by the Federal Government was part of the revenue captured to finance the various policies and programs of the government. He stated that the entire budgetary allocation to Ministries, Departments and Agencies were amended in line with the current realities and the fact that the government must diversify through internally generated revenue.
The Chairman of the committee spoke on measures aimed at funding the budget, saying the government aims at blocking leakages and that once that was done the required revenue would be generated through Internally Generated Revenue ( IGR).
He added that, ‘the other source I said is statutory in nature in the sense that it comes from the federal government monthly.
And why the state is in this financial mess is because hitherto, the state depended on that statutory allocation which we know is from crude oil and we know that the price of crude oil has dropped which is affecting us directly. As it is now, for the past two years, our statutory allocation is on the decrease. In fact, the amount being given is not even enough to pay salaries alone.
This is why states have started looking inwards. The other source is the refund from the federal government. And you know, during Danbaba’s regime, there were roads that were constructed and completed, most especially Jalingo-Sunkani road.
That project was carried out by the state government in agreement with the federal government. In the case of Taraba state, we expected those funds to be refunded but up till now, it was not refunded. But this year, we are hopeful, that fund would get to us. That is why when you look at the budget, we mentioned N24 billion we are likely to get from the Federal government as refund’’, he stated.
However, about N150 million has been allocated for foreign scholarship in the proposed budget, an amount which a member, Charles Maijankai insisted should be channeled towards youth empowerment. But the Speaker stated that doing so could endanger the welfare of Taraba students schooling abroad and so the status quo was maintained.
Several other members contributed to the debate after the report was presented with many encouraging the government on the need to diversify the state economy.
Meanwhile, the Speaker thanked the committee for a job well done while the report was referred to the Business and Rules committee for consideration in preparation for third reading.