30 States Government Spends N968.64bn On Travel, Refreshment, Sitting Allowance In 3months

0

The first three months of 2024 saw N986.64 billion spent by no fewer than 30 state governments of the federation on recurring expenses, such as travel, utilities, refreshments, and sitting allowances.

Following the local and national news, we evaluated the state budget implementation reports that we got from Open Nigerian States, a BudgIT-supported website that serves as a database for public budget information.

Access to this helped with the analysis of thirty states’ budget implementation data of the whole thirty-six states of the federation, for the first three quarters of the year; information for six states was unavailable.

The six states whose data for the first quarter were undisclosed are; Benue, Imo, Niger, Rivers, Sokoto, and Yobe State.

According to a breakdown, the 30-state government spent N5.1 billion on guest refreshments, N4.67 billion on government officials’ sitting allowances, N34.63 billion on domestic and international travel expenses, and N5.64 billion on power bills in the first three months of 2024. This total came to N50.02 billion.

Among other things, the general utilities include rates for water, sewerage, electricity, internet, and phone service. The sub-nationals also gave their employees salaries of N405.77 billion.

The amount spent on domestic and international travel, Internet access fees, entertainment, food, honoraria/sitting allowance, wardrobe allowances, phone bills, electricity charges, stationery, anniversaries/special days, welfare, aircraft maintenance, and more were among the other recurring expenses covered in the report.

A meticulous study shows that Abia State spent N10.92 billion on recurring expenses in the first three months of 2024. These charges included N165.38 million for food and refreshments, N39.26 million for electricity, N214.57 million for sitting allowances, N127.1 million for domestic and international travel, and other miscellaneous costs.

Adamawa State spent N23.7 billion on recurring expenses during this time, of which N287.61 million was spent on food and refreshments, N109.62 million on utilities, N79.57 million on sitting allowances, and N768.77 million on domestic and international travel.

Recurrent expenses for Akwa Ibom State was N46.85 billion, of which N4.46 million was spent on food and refreshments, N223.32 million on utilities, N6 million was spent on sitting allowances, and N214.61 million was spent on domestic and international travel.

Anambra State paid N9.91 billion for ongoing costs, of which N78.18 million went towards food and drinks, N32.52 million towards utilities, N42.09 million towards sitting allowances, and N188.39 million towards domestic and international travel.

The Bauchi State Government’s ongoing, recurring expenses totaled N35.75 billion, of which N397.58 million was spent on utilities, N50.8 million on snacks, N287.11 million on allowances, and N413.56 million on travel.

Recurrent expenses in Bayelsa State totaled N35.1 billion, of which N28.4 million was spent on utilities, N156.14 million on snacks, and N279.99 million on travel.

Borno expended N18.79 billion, while Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, and Gombe spent N17.44, N68.68, N14.95, N32.32, N32.8, N7.51, and N20.89 billion respectively.

Jigawa State paid N15.52 billion for recurring expenses during that time, while Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Zamfara, and Taraba all spent N34.69 billion, N34.41 billion, N21.87 billion, and N11.67 billion in that same period.

Continuing, The Centre of Excellence wasn’t left out as N189.62 billion was paid by Lagos State for ongoing expenses, which included N1.21 million for refreshments, N383.12 million for utilities, N52.79 million for sitting allowances, and N633.37 million for travel.

Recently, there has been a greater focus on government spending, especially in light of the nation’s deteriorating economic conditions. Financial experts have also expressed worries about states’ spending on ongoing expenses at various fora, emphasising the need to welcome financial innovations.

According to development economist Aliyu Ilias, many states still needed to evolve into fully industrialised, marketable states that could draw in investment. He advised the governors to identify a strength that would enable them to draw in outside capital.

Ilias stated, “Going forward, what they could do is identify one area of strength. For instance, Bayelsa has oil and should be able to attract investments. I think it is about policy. They should give the policy a chance that would allow people to come and invest. They should also create an attraction and develop an economic summit that will make sure they showcase and attract investors.”

Prof. Akpan Ekpo, a former vice-chancellor of the University of Uyo and an economist, advised the states to boost revenue by enhancing service delivery.

Also read: https://brandspurng.com/2024/06/04/mouka-partners-herconomy-360-complete-woman-to-present-business-grants-and-quality-sleep-solutions-to-deserving-women/

Segun Ajibola, an economics professor at Babcock University, said that little monitoring and accountability had led to little economic gains for common people and that high governance costs had continued to be a concern at the state level.

The state assembly had given up on their supervision responsibilities as well, the former head of the Chartered Institute of Bankers bemoaned, allowing state governors to function with complete impunity and lack of transparency.

According to him, “The first issue is the perennial complaint about the high cost of governance in Nigeria and at all levels. When you look at these issues, attention is often concentrated on the Federal Government, so the searchlight is always more on the central government. Most often, nobody cares about what is happening in the states and local government, and that is where the problem is.

“There are so many institutional frameworks in place to look at what is happening at the federal level but who cares about the states? The cost of governance in relative terms is even much higher in states than the federal and that is why you hardly feel the impact of governance in most states.

“Only a few states can boost a significant presence in the lives of their people in our states. The state assemblies are expected to conduct oversight functions on the activities of the executives in their respective states, but in reality, how many states are doing that, leaving the executives to be all in all in incurring high costs,” he added.