SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, (THEWILL) – Picking up the gauntlet handed him by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to prove that there was transparency in the management of financial resources, the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai on Monday released the state’s security votes and his pay slip.
Releasing the disbursements to the 23 Local Government Areas in the state, the Governor said he had nothing to hide as he challenged members of the National Assembly to do likewise.
Following the Governor’s earlier remark that the annual budget of the National Assembly was shrouded in secrecy, making Nigerians to doubt its transparency and accountability, Dogara did challenge el-Rufai to publish his state security votes and local government allocation if he was transparent enough.
But El-Rufai, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said: “Our attention has been drawn to a challenge by Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, calling on Kaduna State to make public its security votes and local government expenditure.”
He pointed out that the federal legislature had the most opaque budget in the country, adding that Nigerians had spent N1tn on the lawmakers without knowing the details.
The February pay slip of the governor indicates that his monthly pay was N470, 521.71 after deductions.
According to the pay slip, details of the monthly pay include basic salary, N185,308.75; hardship allowance, N370,617.50; gross pay, N555,926.25, PAYE N85,404.51; total deduction amounts to N85,401.51 while the net pay stands at N470,521.74.
The Governor noted that the amount might appear puny, but it reflected what the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission approved as the salary and allowances of governor “adjusted to reflect provision in-kind of accommodation and transportation.”
He said he accepted the challenge of the Speaker as a necessary step to improve and strengthen the nation’s democracy.
El-Rufai stated that he had consistently made the budget of the state public unlike the National Assembly budget “which is a single line item of over N100bn that divulges zero information or details.”
On the local government funds, the governor referred the lawmakers to the online portal, www.openkaduna.com.ng , for relevant information.
“The proposed 2017 local government budgets, currently before the State Assembly, are also already online on the same website, and on www.kdsg.gov.ng . Approved State Budgets 2016-2017 can be found on http://openkaduna.com.ng/ Budget/approved-budget.
“We invite the Right Honourable Speaker to download and peruse at his pleasure,” the governor added.
As regards the Kaduna State security vote, El-Rufai said, “As our Kaduna Comprehensive Security Architecture outlines, the state is directing security spending on four pillars: justice, technology, community engagement and support to security agencies. The 2017 budget details specific amounts:
“N1.5bn for the procurement and installation of CCTV cameras for monitoring and surveillance towards reducing criminal activities within the metropolis.
“N193m for procurement of geo-position interceptor and location of GSM UMTS System to check the trends and intercept/locate kidnappers’ GSM calls.
“N265m for the procurement of drones/unmanned aerial vehicles to identify locations of armed bandits in our forest reserves across the state and the establishment of a forensic laboratory to assist in determining substantial evidence in cases that otherwise proved difficult in the past.
“N2.6bn is allocated in 2017 to support the network of federal security agencies in Kaduna with communications, logistics and materiel.”
The Governor insisted that the call to #OpenNASS was not a personal one, adding that “it is one which the leadership of the National Assembly owes to all Nigerians.”
He noted that it was disingenuous for the Speaker to use state government budgets as the excuse for the opacity of the National Assembly budget.
El-Rufai said in 2016, the National Assembly budget for its 469 members was bigger than the capital budget of Kaduna State, with close to 10 million inhabitants.
He added, “It is also larger than the entire budget of several Nigerian states. Indeed, over the past 10 years from 2008, the National Assembly, as an institution, has cost the country over N1tn without any detail on how this amount was allocated and spent.
“There is no state government in Nigeria with a budget nearly as opaque as that of NASS. In March 2016, this National Assembly, led by its Chairman, promised to provide a detailed breakdown of the National Assembly budget. Nigerians are waiting,” he said.
The Governor reiterated his call for the National Assembly leadership to do the same and disclose the details of the National Assembly budget, as well as the salaries and allowances of its leadership to Nigerians.
SOURCE: The Nigerian Voice (local news)