Official: Bauchi plans robust 2022 budget for children

The Bauchi State Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning has said it will ensure children’s issues in education, health, water, nutrition and sanitation receive adequate attention during the preparation of the 2022 State appropriation.

The Ministry Permanent Secretary, Yahuza Adamu Haruna, stated this in an interview on the sidelines of a two-day capacity building meeting held in Emerald Hotel Gombe for senior civil servants in Bauchi State.

Organized in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the meeting/training will be on result-based budgeting and the use of Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) formula for effective and efficient social public spending and data collection for 2015 – 2021 budget and expenditure.

UNICEF’s Bauchi Field Office’s Social Policy Specialist, Yusuf Auta, had told participants at the training meeting that there was a great need for considering children in whatever plans that is done in human endeavour because of their vulnerability and neglected status especially in Bauchi State where the condition of children has continued to dwindle negatively.

Quoting the latest NDHS survey for Bauchi State, Mr Auta said 2 out of 3 children aged 0 to 17 years are considered multidimensionally poor (69.8 per cent) thus, facing at least three deprivations simultaneously, compared to 53.9 per cent nationally.

He said, with an estimated population of 4,567,713 children aged 0-17 years, 86.2 per cent of these children do not receive vaccinations while 77.8 per cent of births are unsupervised by quality medical personnel

Another challenge faced by children in Bauchi State is that 147 in 1,000 children die before their 5th birthday, 14.7 per cent of children aged 12 to 17 years do not attain primary school and 62.4 per cent of children between aged 5 and 11 years do not attend school.

But the Permanent Secretary in the Bauchi State’s Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning said the meeting in Gombe with UNICEF is basically to discuss a child-friendly budget with the aim of addressing the vulnerability of children in the areas of health, water, sanitation, hygiene among many others.

He said, “we have here a crop of people implementing the budget from these sectors and then educate them on the process we use in even arriving at every sectoral allocation in the budget”.

He stated that, in education, for instance, ” what are those areas we have as our priorities? What can we do to stop out of school children in Bauchi State? What can we do to ensure access to education in Bauchi State? What can we do to ensure quality, raise quality in terms of teaching, learning conditions?

“We mean, students teacher ratio, students classrooms ratio and others. These are variables that determine to a large extent how the child is able to sit down and get it”, he stated.

Yahuza Adamu also pointed out that one of the challenging problems facing the State is that of acute malnutrition in children.

According to him, these visions and areas of priority are what they will work on when they return to Bauchi.

He said, ” What we want to see is that we are now in the formulation process of budget 2022. We want these people to have a clear understanding of what our problems and predicaments are, what is our vision? That is, our areas of priority so that when they go back to their various ministries, departments and agencies, they will translate these visions into actions by putting everything we have into their budgets.

“So, when they come to us, as a ministry of budget and planning, we will make sure that those areas are funded and implementation is done”, he emphasized.

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