Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working around budget in Kaduna State, on Monday, called on the state government to prioritise agriculture, education and youth development in its 2020 budget.

The CSOs made the call in separate interviews with newsmen in Kaduna.

They canvassed for more allocation to the three sectors and ensuring that the budget size was within available resources.

One of them, Mr Yusuf Goje of the Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development, noted that agriculture provides 42.4 per cent of employment in the state.

Goje added that 79.6 per cent of households in the state were involved in agriculture, while the sector also contributed 38 per cent to the state’s GDP in 2018.

“This shows that agriculture is the backbone of the state’s economy, but surprisingly, funding to the sector has been very minimal over the last four years.

“While fund released to the sector was barely N700, 000 in 2018, allocation to the sector in the 2019 budget was merely 1.3 per cent of the total state’s budget.

“Although the state’s policy statement over the years shows that the government is interested in developing the sector, this policy statement is not reflected in the budget.

“Therefore, what we expect to see in 2020 is the budget ceiling and funds releases to the sector getting higher, because you put more money in your priority areas,” he said.

Also, Dr Elisha Auta of Budget Research and Development Policy Advocacy Centre said that every sector was as important as the other, adding, however, that education sector usually stands out.

“But how well is the education sector being funded and which aspect of the education is the state funding? Are teachers being trained? Are the needed facilities to deliver quality education available?

“For example, almost all the funds used in infrastructural development in Kaduna State University came from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

“We hope that the state government will increase funding of the sector in its 2020 budget and ensure timely release of funds, because development in the sector impacts on all other sectors,” Auta said.

Also, Mr Bako Usman, National President, Campaign for Democracy, noted that education has not been given the needed attention and called on the government to increase attention on education and youth development.

Usman pointed out that youth unemployment contributes to the protracted insecurity being experienced all over the country.

He, therefore, called on the state government to allocate reasonable resources in the 2020 budget on youth empowerment and sports, to keep the youth busy and away from crimes and other social vices.

NAN reports that the Kaduna State Government had on Aug. 1, consulted with members of the academia and the citizens on the state’s 2020 to 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as it prepares the 2020 budget.

The consultation, organised by the Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission with support from DFID-funded Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn, was for people to make inputs in the 2020 budget process.

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