Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Wednesday, presented to the State House of Assembly, the 2021 Budget estimates of One Hundred and Sixty Nine Billion, Eight Hundred and Forty Five Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight Thousand, Five Hundred Naira (N169,845,758,500.00), for consideration and passage.
Presenting the budget proposal tagged: “Budget of Recovery and Continued Growth”, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that it “is 13.8 percent higher than our revised 2020 budget”.
The governor explained that the budget proposal was carefully designed to strategically enhance the recovery of the state from the drawbacks of 2020, occasioned by the unexpected and unpleasant outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the negative effects of the #EndSARS protests, which were hijacked by miscreants and hoodlums to unleash mayhem on the country, “pushing back all the efforts at economic recovery from COVID-19 challenge”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi added that these setbacks to the full implementation of the 2020 budget ensued shortly after his administration commenced payment of the new Minimum Wage of N30,000 in February this year with its consequential adjustment.
“We had adjusted to this new cost centre and set in motion procurement processes for the delivery of services to Ndi Enugu as appropriated by this Honourable House. Suddenly, we slept in one world and woke up in another, confronted with the unpleasant news of a strange illness – Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19)”, he said.
Gov. Ugwuanyi pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and pertinent restriction of economic activities across the country caused a significant drop in the global energy demand that led to oil prices crash with huge drop in Statutory Allocation accruing to states in Nigeria, as well as the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), which compelled state governments to revise their 2020 approved budgets as directed by the National Economic Council and inspired by World Bank.
On the 2020 budget performance, the governor said that apart from the payment of the N30,000 Minimum Wage to workers, provision of critical road infrastructure in urban and rural areas, interventions in security, judiciary, education, tourism, legislature, religious, agriculture, redevelopment of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Urban water supply, among others, his administration has made huge investment in the health sector/COVID-19 related interventions.
On the 2021 budget estimates, Gov. Ugwuanyi revealed that the projections were predicated on the macro and micro-economic indicators of national inflation rate of 11.95%, national real GDP growth of 3%, oil production benchmark of 1.86 million barrels per day, oil price benchmark of $40 per barrel, and exchange rate of N380 per US dollar.
He further stated that the “Enugu State Medium Expenditure Framework (MTEF) 2021-2023 and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) are aimed at prudent fiscal management coupled with prioritisation of public expenditure”, stressing that “this is focused on achieving a better balance between capital and recurrent expenditures”.
The governor noted that out of the total budget size of N169.85 billion, the sum of N68.711billion, representing 40% of the total budget is for Recurrent Expenditure while the sum of N101.1billion is for Capital Expenditure, representing 60% of the budget size.
Consequently, Gov. Ugwuanyi highlighted that the key deliverables of the 2021 capital budget include rehabilitation of the 9th Mile crash water borehole programme; commencement of AFD-funded 3rd National Urban Water Sector Reform Project; completion and landscaping of International Conference Centre and construction of a flyover Bridge at T-Junction of Nike Lake Resort Road/Nike Road, Enugu.
The governor hinted that the all-important flyover project will necessitate closure of the Nike Lake Resort/Nike Road T-junction and all approach routes to it, adding that “preparatory to the project commencement therefore, alternative routes for traffic diversion are being prepared and will be adequately communicated to the public in due course”.
Other key deliverables were the completion of construction of ESUT Teaching Hospital Igbo Eno; installation of Astro-turf & Tartan Tracks, floodlighting with associated Works at Nsukka Stadium, Nsukka LGA; rehabilitation/construction of more Urban and Rural roads; construction of Station Road-Subway Flyover/Underpass to Ogui road with a spur to market road by Red-Cross; construction of additional type III Model Primary Health Centers in Oji River, Aninri, and Awgu LGAs; establishment of Fertilizer blending plant and cottage Rice Mill; completion of the rehabilitation of Enugu Ezike General Hospital and construction of its Amenity Building; integration of Adada Water Scheme and rehabilitation of other Water Schemes in Enugu North Senatorial District, and drilling of new Water boreholes with storage facilities and reticulation across the State.
While expressing profound appreciation to members of the State House of Assembly for their diligence and commitment to the task of taking Enugu State to an enviable height, “consistent with our founding fathers’ dream of a peaceful, united, secure and prosperous Enugu State”, Gov. Ugwuanyi also appreciated deeply the people of the state “for their unflinching support, cooperation and resilience especially in the face of all the storms of year 2020”.
Responding, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for weathering the storms during the year to ensure that his administration provided the dividends of democracy to the people of the state especially in the rural areas.
The Speaker therefore assured the governor that the House will pay diligent attention to the budget for residents of the state to continue to enjoy peace and good governance.