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. Budget’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 the Governor Mai Mala Buni’s administration is hugely supported by budget discipline, financial prudence and transparency as testified 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 state as the number sixth state with a 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 profiles 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.
Summarizing the fiscal performance of the states in relation to index A (Recurrent Expenditure), B (IGR + Statutory Allocations + Capital Receipts), 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 the 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.
Financial prudence and budget discipline have occupied frontline positions in the reforms by the Buni administration to ensure that public funds are not only applied on projects that have direct bearing to the lives of the people but accountable.
This reform also explains why the state government in spite of the lean resources was able to renovate many schools which were destroyed by the prolonged Boko Haram insurgency in the state. Similarly, with the little resources at its disposal, government constructed six model and seven Mega schools in Damaturu, Potiskum, Gashua, Buni Yadi, Nguru and Geidam to decongest classrooms and create a conducive learning and teaching environment.
It is out of prudence and budget discipline that the Governor Buni administration established 105 functional Primary HealthCare Centers in each political ward in just two years to fulfil his pledge of building one functional Primary healthcare center in each of the 178 political wards of the state.
Government also procured and distributed 88 Customized tricycle ambulances to healthcare facilities in rural areas to facilitate transportation of sick persons especially expectant mothers to secondary health institutions. Today, the Yobe state government is building the largest Maternal and Child healthcare center in Nigeria at the Yobe University Teaching Hospital with 32 consultancy rooms, special baby care units, labour and theater units, Pediatric and Obstetric wards and 150 bed capacity isolation center. Four General Hispitals were upgraded to Specialist Hospitals, six Comprehensive health centers upgraded to General Hospitals.
The state government also used its resources judiciously to construct four ultra modern markets in Damaturu, Potiskum, Gashua and Nguru to rejuvenate the economy, boost commerce and trade, and provide employment opportunities just as, three dormant industries, the Yobe flour and Feed Mills, Yobe Aluminum company and the Yobe Woven sacks company have been rehabilitated and now in full production.
Intra Town and township roads in Damaturu, Potiskum, Buni Yadi, Gashua, Nguru, Geidam and Damagum among others were constructed to facilitate movement of goods and services across the state.
To the glory of God, the Multi Billion Naira Damaturu International Cargo airport has been completed, equipped, tested and ready for inauguration.
Governor 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 organizations, will no doubt spur the state government to do more and improve for the betterment of the people.
For Yobe state, having fared well in financial prudence and accountability in the last two years, the state under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala 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.
– Mamman is the director-general, Press and Media Affairs, to Yobe State governor.