Okey Ezirigwe Blast Gburugburu On Budget Presentation, Says It Lacks macroeconomic depth,Vision ETc


We commend the timeous presentation of the 2019 budget to the state Assembly by The Enugu state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi . We applaud the state government for this rare feat of carrying out it’s duty without waiting till the 11th hour.

Despite this timemous presentation, we wish to state that the proposed budget lack macroeconomic depth, is lacking in vision, is not imaginative, it is not expansionary and made no innovative proposal on job creation and investment. The recurrent portion of the budget was mechanically tailored to improve at geometric proportion against capital expenditure which they raised at arithmetic progression. The implication is that the present government has no sincere plan to depart from the path through which the incumbent waste government funds extravagantly dolling out millions of state funds to purchase exaltation, procure endorsements and transact with select political elites who must be patronised and induced to ensure the brand of peace that would aid his perpetuation in office despite his government’s unsatisfactory performance. Could this be why the budget was christened “Budget of Peace”.

The cosmetic budget of ‘peace’ made no substantive plan to stimulate the business environment or improve ease of doing business in the state through more liberal tax administration that would aim at a departure from the present excessive taxation in the state that is insensitive to the plight of the common man, the budget has no broad plan for increased productivity of Agriculture in order to create wealth and achieve mass consumption in both rural and urban communities, it has no plan to explore domestic resource mobilization to harness the abundant human capital and energy for development hence its over dependence on federal allocation to finance key infrastructure and budgetary provisions in the event of an unlikely political will to embark on meaningful projects. The allocation of N2.37b to the health sector is appalling; the governor claimed his government procured four baby incubators, within the limit of the unacceptable standard set by his government, this is a commendable feat . It is incredible that no state hospital where it exists in the whole 17 local governments Area councils of the state has a single functional incubator, yet the government boasts it has implemented 85% of the 2018 Budget. It is therefore trite to conclude the government has no concrete plan to improve the health sector and procure health facilities that provides acceptable minimum health care to the people.

The allocation of less than N800m to Enugu and Nsukka water projects will barely scratch the problem of those two major urban areas. The governor was just throwing a token because he observed our manifesto laid emphasis on ensuring robust water supply to these two cities. The debts owed the previous contractors on the water project in Enugu metropolis alone runs into billions. It therefore clear he has no genuine intention to address the water problems of the state? He had four years to prioritize the perennial lack of water in Enugu metropolis but chose to wait until few months to the expiration of his government.

The Governor in his budget presentation said, “We want to make sure no family goes to sleep without food”. Even with the money bazaar and financial recklessness of the present Enugu state government that place higher premium on sharing cash gifts to it’s cronies and supporters at the expense of enduring people oriented projects and imperative efforts at wealth creation, the state government’s obsession with grabbing, annexing and confiscating of farm lands belonging to poor farmers and allocating same to few wealthy associates and friends of the government for individual projects makes such claim unrealistic. And they baptized the mere academic document “Budget of equity”. Taking from the poor and giving to the rich thereby catalyzing hunger and poverty among the hoi poloi. So are they and so it operates, insensitive government of equity !

We are miffed by the unrealistic contents of the proposed budget especially the state Governor’s claim that his government has implemented the 2018 budget to about 85 percent . This is a claim spuriously lacking in merit.
How could a government that has no well coordinated programme or landmark projects except dolling out money to procure endorsements claim it has implemented 85% of the previous budget, most of the government departments and ministries in the state operate without funds, not because of paucity but because of the state Executive poor culture of devolution of authority. How would a governor that made the various institutions of government redundant and excessively idle by concentrating everything in his office that low profile expenditures which the various Heads of Departments and government Commission could handle would still require his approval, claim such wishful feat of achieving 85% budget implementation, how could a government that cut enormous percentage of local government allocations making it practically impossible for the local authorities to embark on any capital project within their localities make such perfidious claim ? It is rather an insult on the sensibilities of the good people of the state who are disappointed with the below average performance of the present government in the state.

It is clear the articulation of the proposed budget was not guided by any vision and has no realistic big picture other than superficial rhetorical promises. It seems a desperate last ditch effort by a struggling government to save it’s neck, after all What is budget worth before a government that has never implemented one. We urge the governor to get his things together to give way to the man who has the right vision to work for the people of the state, a man better prepared to lead Enugu state as this tokenism dressed as a budget proposal cannot get Enugu state out of the degeneration he engendered this last four years running the most inept, inefficient and ineffective government since the creation of the state.

Okey Ezirigwe
Ayogu Eze Campaign Organisation…..

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