Abia State Leads in Recurrent Expenditure, Spending N10.92 Billion on Refreshments, Sitting Allowances in Three Months, Outspends Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Others | #NwokeukwuMascot


30 govs spent N968.64bn on refreshments, others in three months- Report | #NwokeukwuMascot

 Alex Chioma Otti 

In the first quarter of 2024, thirty state governments in Nigeria collectively expended N968.64 billion on recurrent expenditures, encompassing refreshments, sitting allowances, travel, and utilities. This significant spending was revealed in a report by The PUNCH, which analyzed budget implementation data sourced from Open Nigerian States, a repository supported by BudgIT for public budget data.

State-Specific Expenditures:

Abia State emerged as a notable spender with N10.92 billion allocated to recurrent expenditures. This includes N165.38 million on refreshments and feeding, N39.26 million on utilities, N214.57 million on sitting allowances, and N127.1 million on local and foreign travel. In comparison, Akwa Ibom State, with a larger budget, spent N46.85 billion, but only N4.46 million on refreshments and feeding, indicating a more conservative approach in this category.

Other states also showcased varied spending patterns:

- Adamawa State: N23.7 billion on recurrent expenditures, including N287.61 million on refreshments and feeding.

- Anambra State: N9.91 billion, with N78.18 million on refreshments.

- Bauchi States: N35.75 billion, with significant allocations of N397.58 million on utilities and N413.56 million on travel.

- Bayelsa State : N35.1 billion, including N28.4 million on utilities.

- Lagos State: The highest spender at N189.62 billion, with modest spending on refreshments (N1.21 million) and significant allocations to utilities and travel (N383.12 million and N633.37 million, respectively).

Financial experts have raised concerns about these expenditures, particularly given Nigeria’s current economic challenges. Aliyu Ilias, a development economist, stressed the importance of states developing industrial and marketable sectors to attract investment. He highlighted Bayelsa’s potential with its oil resources as an example of an area that could be leveraged for economic growth.

Prof. Akpan Ekpo, an economist and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, suggested that states need to improve service delivery to increase their revenue streams. Similarly, Prof. Segun Ajibola from Babcock University criticized the lack of oversight and accountability in state governance, noting that high governance costs have little economic benefit for local citizens.

The report underscores the pressing need for financial innovation and more effective oversight at the state level. Experts argue that state assemblies must enhance their oversight functions to ensure transparency and accountability in spending. Without such measures, the high cost of governance will continue to impede meaningful economic development at the grassroots level.

The extensive spending on recurrent expenditures by Nigerian states, particularly on items like refreshments and allowances, highlights a significant governance challenge. As states like Abia outspend others, there is a clear need for strategic financial management and innovative policies to attract investment and ensure sustainable development. Financial experts emphasize the urgency of improving accountability and leveraging local strengths to foster economic growth.


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