By Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
In the days and weeks leading up to the faux pax that became the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) election, the Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema was mentioned several times as a possible compromise candidate, largely on account of what some perceive as his ‘performance’ as governor. The same was said of late Umaru Yar’Adua even though most residents of the state vehemently disagreed then, and now. Shema is being touted as the likely running mate of President Jonathan if he is able to secure the nomination of his party to run for another term as president.
What is it about this man – Ibrahim Shema – that elicits such strongly ambivalent reactions? What is his style of governance and financial prudence, and why is it that so many think there is more to him that meets the eye in the way he runs Katsina state? How are the state’s finances and budget managed? If Shema is doing well in this area, why did the state house of assembly suspend the minority leader because he criticized the government’s poor budget implementation? We will analyze the 2013 budget of the state today to assist our readers answer some of these questions.
Barrister Ibrahim Shema claims to focus his administration’s six development priorities; Education, Agriculture, Human Development, Infrastructure, Health and Crafts. It appears that in Katsina lingo, human development does not equal investments in education and healthcare, as the three are treated separately. Beyond this definitional incompetence however, a look at Katsina’s 2013 budget reveals a level of policy misdirection, indeterminate political will to address the priorities of the state, allocation of funds to areas where monitoring is difficult, and level of non-implementation of past budgets that amounts to impunity.
First, a little history. Carved out of old Kaduna State in September 1987, Katsina is located in Nigeria’s North West and borders Niger Republic, Kaduna, Kano and Jigawa States. Its land mass is approximately 24,000 square kilometers with a population of about 5,801,584 people in 34 Local Government Areas. Its capital is Katsina City. The state has commercial deposits of kaolin and asbestos.
Then Colonel Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar was the first governor of the state (September 1987-July 1988), and was succeeded by other military governors. The first civilian governor was Saidu Barda, while immediate past President Umaru Musa Yaradua governed the state from May 1999- May 2007. Katsina is home to two past presidents; Major-General Muhammadu Buhari and Umaru Musa Yaradua. Other Katsinawa dignitaries include late General Hassan Usman Katsina, Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, former Chief Justice of the Federation Mohammed Bello, two past Inspector’s General of Police: Mohammed Dikko Yusuf and Ibrahim Coomassie, and pioneer Chairman of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Hamza Rafindadi Zayad amongst others. Katsina is home to some of the best and brightest of Nigerian public servants, politicians and military top brass. Will the state’s current budgetary practices produce such quality elites in the future? Let us present the data and you answer the question!
The total budget for Katsina State in 2013 is N112,757,487,475 (One Hundred and Twelve Billion, Seven hundred and Fifty Seven Million, Four Hundred and Eighty Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Seventy Five Naira only). The budget would be financed through some N14, 561,712,643 or 12.9% of the proposed budget realizable from internally generated revenue and some N74.5bn (66.7%) receivable in Federal Allocation. With total revenues at N89bn, what is evident is that the state would need to borrow some N23bn or 20% of its budget from external sources – loans and grants.
The capital provision is some N80,931,809,320 (Eighty billion Nine hundred and Thirty One million, Eight hundred and Nine thousand, Three hundred and Twenty thousand naira only) which is a commendable 71.7% of the entire budget. The State has about 43 MDAs which would cost taxpayers some N31,825,678,155 (Thirty One billion Eight hundred and Twenty Five million, Six hundred and Seventy Eight thousand one hundred and fifty five thousand naira only) or 28.2% in recurrent expenditure – an average of about N700 million per MDA.
Personnel costs would gulp some 17.2% of the entire budget sum or N19,434,384,200 (Nineteen Billion Four Hundred and Thirty Four Million, Three Hundred and Eighty Four Thousand Two Hundred Naira Only) while overhead costs are N7,975,267,830 (Seven Billion Nine Hundred and Seventy Five Million Two Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty naira only) some 7.07% and consolidated revenue charge is apportioned N4,416,026,125 (Four Billion, Four Hundred and Sixteen Million, Twenty Six Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty Five naira Only) 3.9%.
With its projected internally generated revenue of N14,561,712,643, Katsina State has to rely on external loans or Federal allocations to fully fund its personnel cost or staff salaries which are only a part of its total recurrent budget. Plainly put, the state spends more than it earns on government bureaucracy, and falls in the class of “parastatal states” that cannot stand on their own without a lifeline from Abuja.
A sectoral breakdown of the capital allocation of the budget reveals the following structure: N31.3 billion (27.8%) for the economic sector, N16.5 billion (14.6%) for social services, N26.9 billion (23.9%) for regional development, N2.9 billion (2.6%) for general administration, N750 million (0.6%) for the legislature, a provision of N2 billion (1.7%) for miscellaneous expenses and a measly N341.4 million (0.3%) for the judiciary.
At N21.6 billion, the largest departmental allocation is for road construction, Education is allocated some N13.6 billion, Health got N1.6 billion, Agriculture which employs the majority of Katsina’s working population is allocated only N7.8 billion, and Water Supply some N9.5 billion. Are these capital investments enough to register sectoral improvements in the face of poverty challenges the state faces?
According to the Nigeria Poverty Profile (2010), the North West Zone has the highest incidence of absolute poverty in Nigeria with a 70% prevalence rate, the North East 69%, the North Central 59.5%, the South East 58.7%, the South South 55.9% and the South West 49.8%. At 74.5% Katsina State has the highest poverty prevalence amongst all states in the region and the Shema-led administration thus far has taken no deliberate steps to address this. Under the economic sector there is a paltry capital allocation of only N276 million (0.2%) to manufacturing, a paltry N214,019,000 (0.1%) capital provision for Women Empowerment under the Ministry of Women Affairs and only N100 million (0.08%) under the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the states Youth Empowerment Program (Youth Action Plan). These figures are absurd, demonstrating that there is no political will to address the endemic poverty facing most of the population in the state.
From the private sector angle, the state shows even more damning figures. The state has virtually no functioning private agro-allied and manufacturing facilities. According to the World Bank 2010 Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria rankings, the state is ranked 25 amongst the 36 Nigerian States and the FCT, it involves 9 procedures and would take 37 days to start a business in Katsina State. In light of the foregoing, it would be expected that the government would be investing heavily in small and medium enterprises, encouraging and incentivizing businesses to set up shop in the state through tax breaks and infrastructural investments with a view to creating a more conducive business climate. Sadly, this is not the case. Capital allocations for the 2013 fiscal year are N350million (0.3%) for Small and Medium Enterprises, only N280.8million (0.2%) for economic affairs, N1.3billion (1.2%) for finance, and low level of investments in providing municipal services and transportation that could lower the cost of doing business in the state.
Investments in education are ambivalent. While the Shema-led government deserves commendation for the expansion and modernization of classrooms in the state and for being the only Nigerian state with a Department for Girl Child Education and Child Development, teacher quality in the state is one of the worst in Nigeria. According to the UBEC 2010 education profile the qualified teacher to student ratio in Katsina State is 1 teacher to 208 students, its neighbor Kaduna has a ratio of 1 teacher to 58 students. And there is no indication of things getting better; in 2013, only N124,731,000 would be spent on recruiting new teachers, N55million would be spent on teacher welfare and N900million on grants and subventions. There appears to be no special and significant programme to raise teacher quality through training and other incentives.
There is a N12.5million provision for training and staff development and another N2million for in service training and workshop, however these provisions were also made in the 2012 budget with no actual expenditure as at December 31st the same year. One wonders what good these provisions are if they are simply recorded and not actually expended. Delaying or deferring training of staff is suicidal in this century. Katsina’s budget appears to be for debate and passage by the legislature but not for focused implementation!
Katsina has a JSS enrollment rate of about 33% and is the second lowest in the North West zone; Jigawa has the lowest enrollment rate with 22%. Zamfara has the highest enrollment rate with 53%, Kebbi 43%, Kaduna 38%, Kano 34%. Of 21,389 pupils from Katsina State that sat for the 2012 University and Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME), only 3767 scored 200 and above. It is clear that the state suffers a grave education deficit; the government has to channel its resources both financial and physical to training and re-training teachers and increasing school enrollment rates.
The health of Katsina citizens seems even worse than education in budgetary terms. According to the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), Katsina State has the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria with 65% of all cases recorded nationwide. In contrast, Edo State has the lowest rate at 2.9%. Mortality rate in Katsina is also high; the current teenage mortality rate is about 0.822 per 1000 women and the bulk of recorded incidences are from the North, with factors ranging from unsafe abortions, pregnancy complications, poor antenatal care that lead to the increase of birth related deaths which abound in Katsina. Katsina was one if worst places in the world to be a teenage girl based on the NDHS of 2008 under Shema’s watch.
The state has shown some efforts to stemming this tide though, even if too little too late – some N180 million is set aside for purchase of drugs and dressing, N400 million for staff training and development. A 169 bed Turai Yaradua maternal and child hospital has been completed at a cost of N860.5 million, a N552 million provision is also made for a 270 bed orthopedic hospital which would reportedly cost the state N1.6 billion upon completion. All these include about N185 million that was spent in 2009 to purchase 34 mobile ambulances which have thus far eased the provision of health services to rural communities.
The spending priorities of the Shema led government puts road construction as its first priority, this is hardly ideal considering that the state has a high disease burden, the country’s highest poverty rate and a crumbling education system. What Katsina needs more of is not roads but more education and healthcare investments. Road contracts are easy to award to party apparatchiks and well-connected construction firms, while raising quality of human capital is harder and less profitable. The choice is up to Shema to make.
The state must refocus its priorities beginning with a slimmer and cost efficient government. It must also as a matter of urgency allocate more funds to education, health and agriculture. It must invest more in providing potable water for the population as well as to farmers for irrigation. Katsina must lower its cost of doing business and evolve innovative ways to begin the exploration and export of its abundant mineral resources. That is the only way to secure the future of Katsina’s young people. The current approach only makes Shema and his small circle of political actors happy while the future looks bleak for the many.