Taraba State Governor, Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku on Monday presented a budget estimate of N146,73,726,882.58 to the State Assembly for the 2019 fiscal year.
Presenting the budget before the State’s Lawmakers at the State House of Assembly Complex in Jalingo, Governor Darius Ishaku said the budget was to consolidate on his achievements in the past years.
The budget estimate had the capital expenditure of N72,826,433,910, representing 49.86 per cent and the recurrent expenditure of N73.24bn representing 50.14 per cent.
The governor while commending members for the support and the cordial working relationship between the Executive and the Legislature, pledged accountability and sustainability in the implementation of the budget for the good of the State.
Earlier, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Abel Peter Diah commended the Governor for the achievements so far recorded in the area of agriculture, health, education and infrastructural development.
He commended the Governor for bringing governance closer to the people by appointing second class and third class Chiefs which has helped in addressing the security challenge facing the State.
On the forthcoming elections, the Speaker called on politicians to play the game according to the rules, eschew violence and be mindful of their utterances during campaign so as to have peaceful elections.
Our correspondent reports that the 2019 budget estimate of N146.73bn is 12.73 percent higher than that of last year which was N129bn including the supplementary budget of N25bn which was later passed by the House of Assembly.
Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abel Peter Diah, had last Saturday rolled out the drums to celebrate his new position as the Deputy Chairman, Nigeria Speakers’ forum at his residence in Jalingo.
Rt. Hon. Abel Peter Dial, Speaker Taraba state House of Assembly
The celebration brought together people from all parts of Sardauna LGA, where he hails from, members of the Taraba State House of Assembly as well as prominent politicians and prominent sons and daughters of the State.
It could be recalled that Rt Hon. Diah was elected Deputy Chairman Nigeria Speakers’ Conference earlier this month in Lagos. The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly emerged as Chairman while Abel Diah from Taraba emerged deputy.
Diah whose impact is felt in the political history of the State is a leader that has created so much difference in the State House of Assembly and today remains the longest serving member in the Taraba State House of Assembly. Apart from that, he is known for his magnanimity, humanitarian gestures and a thoroughbred politician.
Speaking at the ceremony, the celebrant, Rt. Hon. Abel Peter Diah, said he returned praise to God almighty for every step he has climbed because God has been faithful and promised to keep doing his best to allow God perfect and direct his ways.
He thanked his colleagues saying that they had seen in him what many did not see and thereby elected him as a servant who will always be their messenger. Diah said his nomination was approved by the entire 36 States Assembly Speakers of Nigeria.
Diah also said something very amazing happened to him while in Lagos before the election. According to him, he couldn’t have been elected to the position considering the APC majority in the North but that he was chosen based on his experience and service to his father land.
Diah further said that Governor Ishaku came for the people of Mambilla because he came and fulfilled what they yearned by rewriting the wrongs of the past and giving them six chiefdoms
He urged those planning to contest for elective offices to allow the people speak and letting God to endorse. Diah also said he was in his house when Sardauna LG councilors presented to him money for his nomination form against 2019 urging him to do their bidding and not his bidding.
He ended by saying at age 26, he was already a council chairman hence, what more could he ask for than service to humanity. He therefore promised to work for the people and uphold the name of Taraba any day, anytime, anywhere .
In his words, the Deputy Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon Mohammed Gwampo, said Abel Diah, his boss, was a distinct leader who allowed people work freely in office and only redirects wrongs for right. He disclosed that the Mambilla people were lucky to have such a quality material as a leader and prayed that he keeps the good work going.
Barr GT Kataps, the Ngwi of Mambilla and former SSG of Taraba State said he was a happy man for God has his ways of doing things. According to him, in 1996 when he contested for Chairmanship of Sardauna LGA, Abel Peter Diah was already a Chairman. Kataps said Diah was “elected first time as Member, re-elected, re-elected, re-elected and re-elected again”.
He described Rt Hon Abel Diah as one who had outgrown Mbamnga constituency because his projects knew no bounds and cuts across the entire Sardauna LG and that God elevates whoever is patient and has the people at heart.
Kataps challenged everyone contesting for public offices to be like a plant planted by the river side who bears fruits in due season. GT also disclosed that for over 54 years, they had looked for the chiefdoms that were created of recent by Governor Darius Ishaku but to no avail until the coming of Darius and the house had no problems in passing the bill of liberation. He prayed that more elevation would come his way.
Dr. Alfred Yahya Kobiba who is the Special Adviser on SDG to the Taraba State Governor said Abel Diah had demonstrated that age is not the only index of wisdom, saying his ways and acts have shown that even older people can learn from him.
The Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abel Peter Diah has said, lack of inclusiveness of locals in policy formulation over the years was responsible for some policy failures in the Country.
Diah made the observation yesterday in his office in Jalingo when he received members of the Senior Executive Course 39 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) Kuru, Jos who are on a study tour of the State.
He noted that for a long time, policies in the Country were being formulated in Abuja without the involvement of the local Communities who are expected to key in, leading to policy failures in the Country, and advocated for a bottom top approach in policy formulation.
The Speaker told the delegation that Taraba has the potential to produce food for the entire nation, but lack of support from the Federal Government has hindered it from maximising the agricultural potential.
“I want to appeal to the Federal Government to consider Taraba for fertilisers and other farm inputs at the beginning of every cropping season to enable us feed the nation.
“As you tour the State, you will see the potential yourselves. Taraba has tea that can meet the nation’s demand, but lack of tea policy has hindered our success in this regard. So, we need a tea policy that can protect our local tea which is adjudged as one of the best in the world,” he said.
The Lawmaker who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his genuine commitment in ensuring the commencement of work on the Mambila Hydro Power project, however, called on the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola to personally visit the site for an on the spot assessment to enable him appreciate the task ahead of him in kick starting work at the site.
While pledging the support of the State Assembly in ensuring that the Agricultural policy of the Federal Government succeeds, the speaker decried the continuous herdsmen/farmers clashes in the country, lamenting that some people were hiding under the cover of Fulani herdsmen to cause trouble and displace others from their land.
Diah called for caution on the part of the elites and the political class and urged them to refrain from making inflammatory statements and tagging some people as black sheep.
“As you make recommendations to the Federal Government, I implore you to advise them on the need for ranching and proper enlightenment of the people accordingly for the policy to succeed,” he said.
Earlier, Leader of delegation, Amb. Adamu Abbas informed the speaker that NIPSS is a Policy Research Institute that undertakes research on behalf of the Federal Government, adding that they have the mandate of Mr. President to undertake research on key policy issues.
“The Government of President Buhari is committed to revamping agriculture and that is why we are undertaking research on the role of Science and Technology Innovation in the development of agriculture in the Country”.
Amb. Abass noted that Taraba has the potential for agricultural production and that they were in the State to see how the potential of the State can be maximised to boost food production in the Country.
He thanked Governor Darius Ishaku for his deliberate efforts in promoting agriculture, describing the Taraba Agro Green House as a model and very strategic in checking vegetables importation into the country.
The Taraba state House of Assembly has approved the request of Governor Darius Ishaku for a supplementary Appropriation Bill of N6,694,280,800:00, made up of the sum of N135,759,893:00 as virement, N5,793,601,476:00 as recurrent expenditure and N900,679,324:00 as capital expenditure,in line with Section 121 4(b) of the constitution.
This was as part of the 2016 Supplementary Appropriation Bill sent to the House by His Excellency, Governor Darius Ishaku, on 7th December, 2016.
To this end, the House had referred the Bill to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Chaired by Edward Baraya, PDP, Karim 2 Constituency for further deliberation.
Presenting its report during plenary Wednesday, presided over by Speaker, Peter Abel Diah, the Chairman of the committee, made the following observations.
That “the Supplementary Appropriation Bill is necessary because of the Federal Government policy to support the States with budget support funds. The Taraba state share of the fund is N6,568,283,420:00.
“That there is another refund of N125,997,380 by the NNPC to the State. Thus, Taraba state expects a total of N6,694,280,800:00 and therefore the need for the supplementary Bill” from the Consolidated Revenue Funds of the State.
After the Bill was debated on the floor of the House, it was unanimously adopted by the House and the Speaker then requested the Clerk to communicate the Governor on the new development.
Also, the House had passed into Law the Taraba State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency Bill 2016. This was sequel to a report of the House Committee on Water Resources and Rural Development.
According to the Speaker, the House had succeeded in setting a record by passing two separate Bills into Law in a single day.
Meanwhile, a heated debate ensued during the consideration of the report of a Bill to establish the Taraba State Inter-religious Council.
The bone of contention was the issue of Chairmanship role to be shared by the two major religions, Christianity and Islam. While some members, especially Bashir Mohammed, APC, Nguroje constituency, favored Co- Chairmanship to be shared between the two faiths, others argued for a Chairman and an Executive Secretary to be shared by the two faiths.
The issue of traditionalists being represented in the Council was also stressed upon if justice was to be served.
At the end after much debate, the issue was amicably resolved with the option of Chairman and Executive Secretary positions to be shared between the two faiths prevailing, as part of amendment of the committee report.
The Bill for a Law to Establish the Taraba State Council for Inter-religious Affairs was sponsored by Charles Maijankai, PDP, Karim 1 constituency, while the House discussed the general principles on the Bill and referred it to the Committee on Justice, Judiciary and Cabinet Affairs, Chaired by Bashir Mohammed, APC, Nguroje constituency.
The Taraba state House of Assembly has adopted a letter from the Executive Governor of Taraba state, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, seeking the approval of Rev. Nagombe Joseph as Coordinator of Ngada Special Development Area and Nuhu Tsuki, as Coordinator, Yangtu Special Development Area.
Abel Peter Diah
In a letter dated 19th December, 2016, and addressed to the Assembly read: “you would note that some months ago, the House on my request approved Ngada Special Development Area Creation Order 2016in order to bring development closer to our people who were long neglected”.
The Order was said to be assented to by the governor on 21 September, 2016 and the two nominees were to head the two development areas.
During plenary Monday, presided over by Speaker, Abel Peter Diah, the letter was read before the House and the House then unanimously adopted and approved the letter. The Speaker then directed the Clerk, Ismaili Ukwen Tentason to communicate the governor on the new development.
In another development, the House has considered the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, (MTEF/ FSP), which is suppose to set in motion the process of budget presentation by the governor.
Presenting the document before the House during plenary, Majority Leader of the House, Joseph Albasu Kunini, stated that it was a transparent and policy formulation document to ensure fiscal discipline.
Without any debate, the document was adopted and approved by the House while the Clerk was directed to communicate the governor on the new development.
The Taraba state government has requested for Supplementary Appropriation/Virement of N5,793,601,476.00 and N900, 679, 324.00 for supplementary appropriation for recurrent and capital expenditures respectively. Also, the sum of N135,759, 893.00 is being required to be “vired from unexpended capital expenditure sub head to deficit one”.
This was contained in a Bill sent to the House by the Executive Governor titled: A Bill for a law to authorize the issue out the consolidated Revenue Fund of Taraba state of Nigeria the supplementary sum of N6,894,280,800.00k for the services of the State for the year ending on 31st December, 2016.
Abel Peter Diah
The letter which was read at plenary and presided by Speaker, Peter Abel Diah, was dated 6/12/2016.
It read: “that unforeseen issues arising majorly from rising cost of governance necessitated by additional activities, inflation and increase in exchange rate which requires or will require additional financial commitment became imperative in the course of the financial year. Budgetary provisions for these issues were inadequate or not made in the 2016 Appropriation”.
The letter adds that, “ in line with Section 121 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, supplementary appropriations and virements from unexpended sub- heads are required to finance the additional commitments and new initiatives” and that “affected agencies of government have applied for supplementary appropriations/virement”.
It concludes that “the request for supplementary appropriation is recommended to be funded through the budget support fund from the Federal Government to the State ”.
Recall that the House had approved the sum of N100,874,913,885.00 for the services of the State Government in the 2016 fiscal year, with recurrent revenue of N56,037,511,500.00 and capital receipt of N44,837,402,385.00.
Upon consideration of the letter, the Speaker then referred the Bill to the Committee on Finance and Appropriation for further scrutiny after it has passed first and second reading.
In another development, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) has been forwarded to the Taraba state House Assembly by the Executive.
In a letter to the House, dated 6th December, 2016 and signed by Rt Hon. Haruna I.Gbana (MFR), says that “prior to the presentation and passage of 2017 budget by the House, it would be expedient that the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper be deliberated and approved”.
After considering the letter, each member was availed with a copy to study before the next sitting when it would be deliberated upon.