By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Contrary to insinuation in a section of the media that the Oyo State Year 2021 Budget was rejected by the Executive because the State House of Assembly padded it to the tune of N7.1billion, the State government has declared that there is no evidence of padding in the 2021 Budget, which was revised and passed by the House last week .
The state government noted that the downward review of the N273.7billion Budget earlier approved by the House of Assembly to N268.8billion only became imperative due to the need to achieve the fiscal sustainability of the Budget to enhance the overall budget performance.
A statement by the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Barrister Adeniyi Farinto, explains that the Executive Arm of government only called the attention of the House of Assembly to consider a downward review of the N273.7billion Budget, which it passed into law earlier, based on a set of critical ratios required for the 2021 Budget to be sustainable.
The statement maintained that though the House of Assembly justified the need for the upward review of the Budget proposal to accommodate more developmental projects for the state, the need to ensure adequate budget performance in the face of of the COVID-19-induced recession led to the advice to the House to revise in order to enhance budget performance.
According to the Government, if the earlier approved Budget of N273.7billion was not revised, the state will likely experience lower savings and income and higher interest payments on loans that will likely lead to large tax hikes and spending cuts as well as a decrease in the state’s ability to respond to economic challenges.
It added that the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning had promptly gone ahead to advise the Appropriation Committee of the House of Assembly to revisit the budget in order to have a realistic budget, which implementation can achieve an impressive budget performance in the year 2021.
It further stated that the loan components allocated in the N273.7 billion earlier approved have since been reduced and the Budget was passed in the sum of N268.8billion on December 18, 2020, representing an increase of N2.2billion on the Budget proposal submitted by the governor on November 24, 2020.
The statement added that the increment was made to further reflect development at the grassroots level in Oyo State.
The Government expressed satisfaction with the good working relationship between the House of Assembly and the Executive, stating that there is a cordial and amiable relationship among all Arms of Government in the state in demonstration of the commitment to good governance, growth and development of the state.
“The Executive arm is currently making substantial effort to avoid a loan-driven budget that will further increase the level of fiscal deficit of Oyo State in the year 2021 through the adoption of strategies that will increase the revenue base of the State’s economy.” It reads.