The Lakes State Revitalized Legislative Assembly on Monday unanimously rejected the 2023/24 state budget and sent it back to the executive because it did not reflect the 400 percent salary increment for civil servants approved by the TNLA in the 2023/24 national budget among other things.
The state budget proposals also did not reflect the state government’s revenues from Personal Income Tax (PIT) and other sources prompting queries from the lawmakers.
The spokesperson of the Lakes State Parliament, Zechariah Puoric Matuong, told Radio Tamazuj Monday that the 2034/24 state budget proposals amounting to SSP 9.4 Billion were presented by the state’s finance minister to the House two weeks ago and referred to the House’s finance committee for scrutiny.
“On 19 October, the minister of finance presented the budget for the 2023/24 fiscal year which is SSP 9, 464, 637,214. Parliament sent it to its finance committee which took two weeks to scrutinize it and they presented their findings today (Monday).
The budget was discussed thoroughly and it was decided that it has to be taken back to the executive for inclusion of other things that were observed to be missing by parliament,” he explained. “The first finding is the 400 percent salary increment for civil servants is not reflected in the budget so the budget was sent back so that it is included. Secondly, a budget conference was not held. All the state government spending institutions or agencies have plans to represent in the budget conference so that it should be included in the budget.”
According to Puoric, another reason for the budget being sent back is that the projected local revenues which amount to SSP 205 million are also not reflected in the budget. He also said that there were disparities in the budgets of the counties.
“We decided as the assembly that the executive reconcile the area where concerns were raised and also harmonize the budgets of the counties,” Puoric added. “The finance minister has been tasked to retable the budget with the required inclusions and parliament will remain in session until the budget is brought back. This is what we resolved.”
He faulted the state’s finance minister for presenting a budget similar to the one of the last fiscal budget.
“We need to have a different budget because of the 400 percent salary increment, which reflects the community tax collections money from other state revenues,” the parliamentary mouthpiece said. “Even the minister of finance admitted when interviewed that this is the same budget of last year that he brought. That is why we returned it to the executive.”