Governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Monday, maintained that his administration would continue the tradition of engaging with residents of the state on the making of the state’s annual budget, noting that this would help the government to serve the people better.
He stated that his administration began the tradition in 2019 after noticing that the budgetary performances of the state were abysmally low before he assumed office, stating that the initiative had resulted in better budget performances and development.
The governor stated this while speaking at the Stakeholders’ Consultative and Engagement Meeting on 2024 Budget, held at the Gamaliel Onosode Hall of the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
Governor Makinde, who noted that his administration would continue to put the interest of Oyo State people first in everything it does, said the 2023 budget performance of the state would have reached 80 per cent by the end of the year, as it is already at 75 per cent, which he described as a pass mark.
Urging residents of the state to take the engagement meetings, which would be held across the seven zones of the state seriously as inputs from the meetings would be captured in the budget, the governor said: “We are here again to kick off another stakeholders’ meeting and this time, it is for the 2024 budget.
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“Like some of the goodwill messages already pointed out, we have held this conversation since 2019 when we assumed office. It is not just a yearly ritual; it is an exercise that is extremely important.
“Before we came in, budget performance was like 30 per cent and sometimes, you just look at the budget and you see that they are just overblowing what they did.
“We are not coming around for this exercise just for the fun of it. The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning said we are at 75 per cent performance and before the end of the year, we will surely go beyond 80 per cent. I believe this is a pass mark.
“Thoughtfully, the people of Oyo State gave us an opportunity to serve them better. So, we will continue to hold this stakeholders’ engagement under my watch for another three years.
“For those who are familiar with this meeting, you know there was a time when we consulted stakeholders in the five zones now broken into seven zones, as we have Ibadan Main City and what I will call Ibadan Greater City and not Lesser City. And we also have Oke Ogun Zones I and II.
“The inputs we get from all these places are extremely important, because anything that you can put in the budget, if you are getting 75 to 80 per cent performance, it means you have 75 to 80 per cent chances that whatever you put in there will get done.
“So, we must let our people know that this is not a jamboree. It is an avenue for our people to let us know what they want us to do for them.”
The governor equally advocated for a better synergy between the state and the local governments so they can serve the interests of the people better, noting that the creativity of his government has helped it to achieve the construction of Oyo-Iseyin Road, a federal road and the rebuilding of Akesan Market, Sasha Market and the Iseyin City Hall, which were local government projects.
The governor declared that it does not matter who does whatever project as much as it is about serving the interests of the people, noting that the administration will continue to deploy the same creativity across every sector by ensuring that it does its best to ensure that cosmetic approaches are not applied to issues.
The governor gave the example of how the administration has been handling the post-subsidy removal challenges, stating that the administration launched the SAfER packages rather than just embarking on palliatives, which he noted are half measures that cannot the problems.
Responding to some of the issues raised by stakeholders at the event including recruitment of teachers into primary schools, completion of the 351 Primary Health Centres and, the governor assured that his administration would address all the issues in the next budget.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Prof Musibau Babatunde, said the state government had been using the stakeholders’ meetings to influence its budget since 2019.
“The Oyo State government wants a budget that impacts on the welfare of the citizenry and in last year’s budget, we were able to achieve 75 per cent of the budget.
“So, we are appealing to residents, let us know of projects and yearnings that will affect your area. Some of the projects you asked for have been undertaken and some of them are going. Everything we have been doing is about the people,” he added.
In separate goodwill messages, Director-General of the DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye; chairman of the House Committee on Budget, Public Accounts, Finance and Appropriation, Hon Sunkanmi Babalola; and representative of the Ibadan Main LGs chairmen, Alhaji Ramoni Adepoju, commended the government for the budget initiative.