By Princess Simon (Bureau Chief North Central, in Minna)
The Niger state government said it will borrow the sum of about N100.4 billion which represents 50.65 percent of its 198.2 billion budgeted for the 2022 fiscal year estimate as presented to the Niger State House of Assembly last week.
Niger State State Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Abubakar Zakari, who disclosed this to journalists in Minna on Monday, also lamented that the state is usually left with almost nothing in the coffers after paying workers salary and pension and that is why the state has to improve on its Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Commissioner however unfurled the sectoral allocation of the 2022 budget, stating that civil servants in the state will smile next year because over N1.33 billion representing, 1.77% has been earmarked for their leave grants especially for the outstanding MDAs.
Under the economic sector, Abubakar Zakari explained that Niger state is also expected to use the sum of N6.46 billion for debt servicing in the the proposed budget as the current debt profile for both local and foreign creditors stand at N87 billion.
Part of the debt were inherited by the present administration. Zakari who is overseeing the Ministry of Budget and Planning, added that the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello led administration is positioned to accord priority to the welfare of civil service as a catalyst that drives the administration’s developmental policies.
“The present administration discovered that, some civil servants in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies were not captured in the 2021 leave grants hence the need to ensure that such categories are adequately captured in the 2022 fiscal year”.
In view of the importance the administration attaches to the welfare of workers in Niger state, the commissioner said the sum of N1, 331, 367,685, 91. representing 1.77 percent of the total budget is to be spent on payment of leave grant to civil servants.
Apart from workers’ welfare, the commissioner said the state will spent huge part of the budget on Agriculture in 2022 as part of strategies to gradually wriggle her way out of the devastating economic meltdown caused by COVID 19 pandemic and insecurity.
Deliberate and sustained agricultural policy to encourage agricultural value chain will be pursued with well over N5 billion allocated to the sub sector comprising; improving Agricultural output of N3.7 billion and livestock development with N1.7 billion, he pointed out. NNL.