By A Special Correspondent
Adamawa State House of Assembly has approved the sum of N120.459 billion against N105.459 billion projected 2017 budget proposal that was earlier presented by Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrila for the services of the state for consideration and subsequent approval by the Honourable House.
But, the Lawmakers unanimously decided to jerk up the budget by adding the sum of N15 billion to it in order to enable the Executive Arm actualize what they described as the translation of declaration of State of Emergency on Education and Health sectors by the Executive.
The passage of the budget followed the third reading of the bill in a motion by the Majority Leader of the House after the adoption of the report presented by House committee on budget and appropriation.
The lawmakers insisted that the increment followed the reports received from various Sub Committees after the 2017 budget defence, saying that the committee on Health is requiring N8.585 billion as against N2.80-3 billion presented while Educational Sector is requiring additional N4.608 billion as an emergency intervention to the sector.
Another reason for increasing the budget estimate according to the Legislators is the noticeable improvement in the Internal Generated Revenue IGR in recent times, expressing optimism that the rise in the Board of Internal Revenue BIR would continue in the interest of the state.
However, they had advised BIR to as a matter of urgency drag all Small and Medium Scale Enterprises into the Tax Net adding that the state Government on its part should give recognition and support to the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises because of their support and efforts, the economy and revenue have improve.
The report of the Committee equally stressed the need for the review of the state taxes, tariffs and rates to boost IGR to enable the state provide basic amenities to the citizens, saying that IGR is one of the indices for economic self-sustenance.
It however recommended that the establishment and Training Department under the office of the Head of Service of the state should commence the centralization of all revenue collectors to the Board of Internal revenue as the body was established with the responsibility of collecting revenue for the state.
It further urged the State Government to withdraw all tax waivers granted by previous Government in order to maximize revenue generation and that the Federal Agencies operating in the state should duly pay their taxes that are accruable to the state.
The lawmakers therefore directed the House Committee on Commerce to respect the Bill on the State Markets Authority which was passed by the 5th Assembly as part of effort to boost IGR.
According to them, there was an urgent need to diversify the State Economy from over dependence on the Federal Allocation by fully exploiting the local tax collections, noting with concern lack of release of funds for the execution of projects by most Ministries in the state.