The Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), Kaduna State Chapter, has expressed concern over the cut in capital budget allocation to Kaduna State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (KADRUWASSA) by 72 per cent.
The society pointed out that the budget of the agency was reduced from N4.6 billion in 2022 to N1.3 billion in the proposed 2023 budget of N370.3 billion before the Kaduna State Assembly for consideration.
The Public Relation Officer of the group, Mr Doris Zakama, expressed the concern in Kaduna on Wednesday, during a public hearing on the proposed budget organised by the State Assembly to get citizens’ inputs.
WITHIN NIGERIA reports that the event was supported by the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a governance programme of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Zakama pointed out that a mapping of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) budget lines across line Ministries, Departments and Agencies shows a total proposed allocation of N14.2 billion.
She said that the allocation represents 3.8 per cent of the N370.3 billion proposed state budget for 2023.
She also noted that the allocation for the WASH sector has witnessed an increase from N7.2 billion in the 2022 revised budget to N14.2 billion proposed for 2023, representing 196.4 per cent increase.
She, however, said that the 72 per cent cut of proposed capital budget allocation to RUWASSA was of concern considering the critical role of the agency in rural water supply.
According to her, striping the agency of a large chunk of capital expenditure will significantly affect its ability to perform its duty of providing clean water to rural dwellers.
“We recommend that capital allocation to the agency in 2022 be maintained because of the critical role the agency plays in providing clean water to rural communities.
“We are also worried that the N94.2 million allocated for tracking, monitoring, contract management, media and publicity, supervision and other logistics to all project sites was removed in the 2023 proposed budget.
“Providing funds for monitoring and evaluation of WASH programmes is very critical to the operation of any public agency to ensure value for money and therefore, recommended that the amount be reallocated,”
Zakama also said that the N471.1 million allocated for the construction of 100 blocks of gender sensitive sanitation facilities in institutions and public places was removed in the 2023 proposed budget.
She therefore appealed to the lawmakers to reallocate the amount, stressing that providing sanitation facilities in public places is critical to reducing open defecation and maintaining a hygienic and healthy environment.
“There was also a N583.2 million allocated for the conduct of hygiene promotion and mobilisation across the 23 LGAs in the 2022 budget that was not provided for in the 2023 proposed budget.
“We want the State Assembly to look into this, as allocating this fund will enable the agency to effectively carry out hygiene promotion and mobilise community members on good hygiene practices.
“We equally noticed that no budgetary allocation was made for Kaduna State Water Corporation in the proposed budget, and we want the State Assembly to look into it,”
Responding, the Deputy speaker, Mr Isaac Auta, who presided over the hearing, while acknowledging NEWSAN’s concerns, lamented the poor maintenance of most boreholes constructed by KADRUWASSA.
Auta promised that the lawmakers would look into the concerns and advised NEWSAN to work closely with the WASH agencies to ensure quality service delivery in the sector.
On her part, the Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, Hajiya Umma Aboki, equally explained that no fund was allocated to Kaduna State Water Corporation because it was self-sustaining.
The commissioner added that some of the capital allocations were consolidated at the coordinating ministry – Ministry for Public Works and Infrastructure.