By Akanimo Sampson
With three clear signposts, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has made the major planks of his administration known to the peoples of the state as they brace for this year’s polls. These are: Peace, Equity and Prosperity.
With his massive endorsement, Governor Ugwuanyi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is confident that the electorate will rally round him at the governorship poll and so, has presented a budget proposal of N109, 199 billion for this fiscal year to the state House of Assembly for consideration and approval to enable his administration commence vigorous action on the three pillars.
Presenting the budget proposal tagged: ‘’Budget of peace, equity and prosperity’’, Ugwuanyi disclosed that the appropriation bill was 5.44 percent higher than the previous year’s of N103, 563 billion.
The increase, according to him, was in keeping with his administration’s promise last year to expand its expenditure vis-à-vis projects and programmes of the state as the economy of the nation improves ‘’to ensure that every citizen and residents of Enugu will reap the full benefits of the dividends of democracy.’’
He also claimed that his administration has implemented the previous budgets to N85 percent, explaining that out of the total budget proposal of N109.199 billion, the sum of N65.7 billion which represents 60.17 percent, is for recurrent expenditure. He equally noted ‘’this is higher than the 2018 figure of N60.7 billion by 8.22 percent’’.
Disclosing that the capital expenditure stands at N43.493 billion which represents 39.3 percent of the budget size, Ugwuanyi said it is also higher by 1.5 percent than the 2018 figure of N42.846 billion.
While revealing that works and infrastructure will gulp the highest amount of N16.5 billion because of the premium the state government placed on infrastructural development of the state, he maintained that government intends to complete all ongoing road projects and construct new ones across the 17 local government areas of the state as well as provide other critical infrastructure that will stimulate economic growth and job creation.
Adding, Ugwuanyi said the health sector was allocated the sum of N2.37 billion, pointing out that the sector received a boost in its financing to enable his administration fully equip the already completed Enugu State Medical Diagnostic Centre to commence operation this year.
The governor pointed out that the state government also intends to sustain and improve on the services being provided through free maternal and child healthcare programme, adding, ‘’we want to ensure that our children, pregnant and nursing mothers do not die from preventable ailments, thus we have set aside the sum total of N2.37 billion to all the ministries, departments and agencies under the health sector in the 2019 fiscal year’’.
According to him, agriculture received an allocation of N633.5 million to consolidate their efforts toward commercialisation of the sector to achieve food security in the state, while N5.522 billion went to the education sector to sustain their tempo in the ongoing compulsory free education from primary to junior secondary schools; renovation, construction and equipping of schools at all levels, among others.
The sum of N742 million is in for the expansion of Enugu and Nsukka urban water scheme, in a seeming frantic bid to boost small town water supply project and the state rural supply project and the state Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (ENRUWASA) with the aim of making potable water available to the citizenry irrespective of where they live.