2021 Budget: We’re being short-changed, northeast governors lament
The Northeast Governors Forum, NEGF, has lamented the low budgetary allocation to the region in the 2021 proposed budget estimate, calling on the National Assembly members in the region to take immediate steps to redress the imbalance.
The forum, which comprises the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states, made this known in a communique signed by on Friday its chairman, Governor Babagana Zulum, at the end of their 3rd meeting in Yola, Adamawa State capital.
The forum lamented that despite the challenges of development, especially the infrastructural deficit in the Northeast, the 2021 proposed budget makes provision for only 45.32 Billion Naira for Capital projects in the sub-region.
This, they said, represents a paltry 0.35% of the proposed N13.02 Trillion Naira.
The forum, therefore, demanded the National Assembly to review the 2021 budget “in the spirit of equity and inclusion”.
The forum said: “The forum notes with dismay, that despite the challenges of development especially the infrastructural deficit in the Northeast, the 2021 proposed budget makes provision for only 45.32 Billion Naira for Capital projects in the sub-region.
“This represents a paltry 0.35% of the proposed N13.02 Trillion Naira. This means that Northeast is highly short changed.
“Forum demands the National Assembly to review the 2021 budget in the spirit of equity and inclusion.
“It equally mandates the Northeast caucus of both the Senate and House of Representative to take immediate steps to redress this imbalance.”
The forum also lamented what they described as unfair treatment by the Federal Government in the area of road infrastructure provision to the region.
The forum further lamented the “slow or outright non-existent progress” on the pace of the roads already allocated in the sub region.
“Forum notes that the Sub-region has been unfairly treated in the provision of roads infrastructure by the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing.
“It further noted with dismay the slow or outright non-existent progress on the pace of the roads already allocated in the sub region and calls for the immediate reactivation and review of the comatose existing road contracts in the sub-region,” the communique said.
The forum, while noting the relative improvement in the security situation in the sub-region, however, insisted that the activities of Boko Haram, bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers are still constituting a threat to sustainable development.
While commending the effort of the security agencies in the sub-region, the forum agreed to strengthen community policing and action to complement their efforts.
The forum also noted with dismay, the lack of budgetary provision in respect of the Mambilla Hydro Project in the 2021 Budgetary Proposals.
It, therefore, called on the Federal Government to make the project a matter of serious priority, resolve all encumbrances around the project as well as order action on site.
The forum also examined the challenges of education in the sub region and resolved to adopt a regional approach by being deliberate on transforming education.
While emphasizing on education at the basic level, the forum also agreed to form the Northeast Council on Education.
The forum also reaffirmed the commitment of member states within the sub-region to enforce the UBEC Law to protect and ensure all children have an opportunity to acquire basic education.
The forum called on the NEDC to expedite action on the development of the Northeast Strategic Master Plan.
While working on the plan, the forum said it would ensure projects are demand-driven to ensure impact and accountability.
The forum frowned at a situation where projects are imposed on the states without due consultation
It noted that Gender based violence was still a major nuisance in the sub-region, and therefore, called on all governors of the zone to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015 as well as ensure the rapid dispensation of justice on gender-based violence.
The forum noted the need for sub-regional integration on significantly cross-cutting issues that could mutually be beneficial to States within the region.
It agreed that the state governors within the region should appoint Special Advisers on Regional Integration.
The forum, while examining the status of the post- COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Package of 2.3 Trillion Naira, praised the Federal Government for this noble Initiative, solicited for equitable and fair treatment, especially in view of the economic and social challenges facing the sub-region.
It also resolved to engage Arewa Research and Development Project, ARDP, to provide technical support in key areas of development such as Agriculture and Education.
The Forum resolved to pursue vigorously the issue of securing admission for its candidates in Nigerian tertiary institutions to fill its quota.