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Nasarawa, TIN and budget disciplined states

Nasarawa, which scored the third place position in the category of the most budget disciplined state by TIN in its budget disciplined perception index as…

Nasarawa, which scored the third place position in the category of the most budget disciplined state by TIN in its budget disciplined perception index as reported by Daily Trust of 02/04/2013 did not come to us as surprise considering the level and scope of financial prudence which Al-makura initiated since he came on board as Governor of Nasarawa state. Before the coming of Al-makura, anyone familiar with the way budgets are implemented or anyone familiar with the way financial transactions are carried out in Nasarawa state must concede to total lack of prudence and accountability. All financial transactions are done without due regard to either financial regulations or without due considerations to International best practices, but the coming of Al-makura, by virtue of his experience in private sector. When Al-makura came he started first by blocking all areas of wastages in recurrent expenditures of the state. Indeed a lot of monies were said to have been saved by government following staff audit ordered sincerely by Al-makura. Through this exercise nearly 800 were discovered as ghost workers in the pay-roll of government. To fully demonstrate his commitment to prudent management of resources and in his characteristic style of leadership by example, Al-makura slashed his duty travel allowance (DTA) by almost half. He did not however stop there, but he went ahead to draw a distinction between his official and private trip. He takes DTA only on official trip. After any official trip, he personally ensured that all unspent monies were returned to state sub-treasury and dully receipted.
Also affected by slash in recurrent expenditure exercise, were the office of the Governor, office of the deputy governor and the office of the secretary to the government (SSG) as well as all government ministries and Agencies. This writer reliably gathered also that, the running cost of the above mentioned offices were slashed by half. The cut also affected the cost of running of all government buildings and guest houses. Apart from these, Al-makura led administration further instituted a due process mechanism in the way contracts and supplies are being awarded in the state to block all linkages associated with implementation of capital expenditures in the state.
The financial discipline instituted by Al-makura has help his government, in no small measure, in saving a lot of money which made him to execute some  capital projects as well as start payment of new minimum wage of N18, 900 ahead of all other states in the federation without incurring any debt in the process, despite an irrevocable standing payment order (ISPO) obligations to which the state was committed to, following contractual agreements entered into by the previous PDP administrations to the tune of N350million which is being deducted at source from the federation account allocation to Nasarawa state on monthly basis, and  the sum of N209million which is also  being deducted at source from the same federation account allocation and paid to Plateau state as Paris Club refund every month, yet Al-makura led-administration is able to stay afloat and carry out virtually all its responsibility as a government. Indeed, all this deductions are from the meager N2.6 billion which the state receives monthly from federation account.      
In-spite these meager allocations from the federation accounts and the dubious contractual agreements entered into on behalf of Nasarawa state by the previous administrations, Al-makura still remains committed and determined to budget discipline which as a result earned him a third place position in the renting of Transparency International in Nigeria. This however, is by no means achievement considering the orientations of some of our people which centre on believe that government monies are meant to be share. Of course, one other thing that we must commend Al-makura for was his resistance to all entreaties for business to go as usual in expending of state resources. 
While we do not have any reason whatsoever to question or rather doubt the credibility of Transparency International in Nigeria, for as we are all aware, the body is but, part of global coalition against corruption which activities is widely acclaimed as credible, we must hasten to congratulate Nasarawa state under the able leadership of Al-makura for clinching third place position in the whole of federation as the most budget disciplined state. That Nasarawa state which was created just not quite 16 years ago but yet competed and beat more than 32 states, some of these states were in existence for more than 4 decades, is most cheering news to all lovers of prudence and accountability in governance. Indeed Ta’alliyawa way of prudence has come to stay in Nasarawa state, leaving no one in the state  with no any option but to key-in, in the interest of the present and future generation.
Bala wrote from Lafia. rayanubala @yahoo.com   


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