By Yusuf Ishaku Goje
Seven months into 2021, with the current budget being implemented and that of 2022 at formulation stage, the Kaduna state government is yet to make public its revised State Development Plan (SDP, 2021-2025). This remains a major blockage to effective citizen’s engagement and fiscal accountability. This runs contrary to the spirit of Open Government Partnership (OGP), State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (SFTAS) program, and Program for Results (PforR).
Looking back, the Kaduna State government in its just concluded Development Plan (2016-2020) declared that by 2020: we will be the destination for business investment and the food basket of Northern Nigeria; all Citizens will have access to quality healthcare and education; all Citizens will live and move freely without fear of harm; and they will run a transparent and accountable government with a highly motivated and efficient civil service.
The Plan implementation focused on four key areas of Economic Development, Social Welfare, Security and Justice, and Governance. It had its high and low moments as it aspired to ‘Make Kaduna Great Again’. In order to translate this Development Plan into tangible results, each sector had to develop a Sector Implementation Plan (SIP, 2016-2019), which also served as the linkage to the annual budget towards delivering on the outcomes specified by the Plan.
Furthermore, over the five year period of the plan, the State government had projected to generate an average revenue estimated at 124 billion naira annually; while public sector expenditure over the plan period is estimated at 638.7 billion naira; and also aspired to attract investment of over 800 billion naira through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mechanism in agro-allied industries, railway and road transport, hospitality and retail sectors.
Towards actualizing the ambitious aspirations of the Plan, in line with Public Financial Management system we witnessed the operationalization by the government of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB). Furthermore, key laws were passed such as the Fiscal Responsibility Law 2016, Public Procurement Law 2016, Tax Codification and Consolidation Law 2016 (amended in 2020), Public Finances (Control and Management) Law 2016, Kaduna Geographic Information Service Law 2018, among others.
Now that the old development plan has come to an end and in view of the results framework therein, some of the key questions for the State government to answer are: have we increased the quality of education at levels? have we reduced infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, preventable diseases? have we increased yield of major crops in metric tons per hectare? have we increased production of minerals in the State and the contribution to the GDP? have we increased percentage of the population with decent and affordable housing?
The Planning & Budget Commission is expected to have produced an impact evaluation report of the SDP. If this has been done, then it has not been made public, which goes contrary to the State’s Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation Policy. This report would have given us leverage to have a holistic and balanced assessment of the plan performance.
However, the evident challenges faced by the just concluded development plan are: inability to effectively streamline the budget size and aspirations with revenue mobilization; low citizen’s awareness and ownership of the SDP; near absence of annual stakeholder’s review of the SIP and midterm review of the SDP; inconsistency between the annual budget and SIP in many of the sectors; inadequate and untimely remittance of revenue generated on behalf of the LGAs by the State government; inadequate up-to-date data to measure progress.
In order to address the highlighted blockages, the new development plan should be subjected to: wider and robust stakeholders engagement; citizen’s buy-in & ownership by enhancing permanent dialogue mechanism under the OGP; strengthen linkage btw the SDP, SIP and budgets; enhance credible and timely data collection, management, access & utilization during the Plan implementation; and review some of the outcome targets to become more realistic.
Others are: increased quality of oversight by the State House of Assembly supported by civil society partners; ensure adequate, timely and transparent budget spending; increase commitment to annual SIP review; improve on effectively communicating progress during the implementation of the SDP; hold periodic state-wide Citizens Perception Surveys in order to sustain alignment between the plan & the people’s aspirations; and strengthen and align staff capacity to the plan strategy.
This is a call to the Kaduna state government to make public the 2021-2025 plan to allow for more robust and effective citizen’s engagement. We are at a point that we no long measure government performance base on outputs (number of projects executed) but outcomes (result-based impact). That is the only way we can make Kaduna Great Again.
Where is the Kaduna State Development Plan (SDP, 2021-2025)?