As the Kaduna State House of Assembly commences the budget defence exercise for 2021 fiscal year, various ministries, departments and agencies have complained of lack of cash-backing and releases for the 2020 budget.
The Kaduna legislators, being the key actors in ensuring that every ministry, departments and agencies gets its budget, however noted that cash-backing and lack of releases has hindered most of the ministries from carrying out the responsibilities expected of them.
LEADERSHIP reports that the challenges which lead to these lack of cash backing and releases at the appropriate time were as a result of the long recess due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other challenges faced by the ministries, departments and agencies include procurement of drugs for Primary Health Care Centres, renovation of midwifery campuses, insufficient staff particularly in the ministry of Health which according to the commissioner, Hajiya Amina Baloni, there will be recruitment to fill the vacant positions in the ministry.
Baloni added that the challenges posed by COVID-19 had affected most of their plans but with the budget estimate of about N11.5 billion, they will bounce back on track. She noted that 17 out of the 31 general hospitals in Kaduna State would be upgraded regardless of the liquidity challenge globally. She said the Health Ministry would always be given priority.
The administrator of Kaduna State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Hajiya Addakano Bello Umar said the major challenge facing the college has been lack of fund as their major source of income are the students and they have not been in school due to the pandemic, hence the need for support to meet their objectives.
“Another challenge is that of accreditation which we were unable to meet as there are no students in the Pambeguwa Campus because we have not been accredited, likewise the Kafanchan Campus which has been on interim accreditation since 1989, so if we do not meet up the demand of the council which will enable us have full accreditation, then we stand the chance of total closure of the college,” she explained.
The Kaduna State commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Muhammad Bashir said the budget performance is on the low side due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but assured that 2021 would be different, as more projects will be implemented.