The Governor of Enugu State; Rt. Hon. Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi presented 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 to the State House of Assembly on Wednesday 9th December, 2020 for deliberation and adoption.
The budget was tagged “Budget of Recovery and Continued Growth” based on the hope of economic resuscitation from the ill effects of the Covid-19 and the harsh realities occasioned by the hijack of the EndSARS protests by mobsters and scoundrels. The budget as specified by the His Excellency is 13.8% higher than the state’s year 2020 revised budget.
The Governor added that those harsh realities came up after his administration had approved and implemented the payment of the N30,000 minimum wage to Enugu State Civil Servants; but the administration never relented in its efforts to keep putting smiles on workers’ faces as it continued to pay the salaries as at when due even when whole nation was on lock down resulting further to the revision of the year’s budget following the Inspiration of the World bank and the consequent directive by the National Executive Council due to the dwindling of the demand in global energy.
As a result of the lockdown and the consequent drop in oil prices which led to the reduction in Statutory Allocations due to state likewise the decrease in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the need for the budget revision was quite justified.
The Administration however recorded milestones as per achievements in the budget performance which include but are not limited to the payment of the new minimum wage to state workers, efforts to ensure that Corona Virus was fought to a standstill; procurement of Ambulances, provision of accommodation for COVID- 19 Patients and their care givers, payment of allowances to health personnel and other frontline workers, reconstruction and upgrade of the former Colliery Hospital now renamed the Enugu State Infectious Disease Hospital, the upgrade of Nsukka, Oji River, Ibagwa Ani, Abakpa Nike, Amandim Olo, Obollo- Afor health Centres to Model Type 3 Primary Health Care Centres, construction of the ESUT Teaching Hospital Igbo-Ano and other constructions there in which include the ESUT Teaching Hospital Complex, 2Nos 12 classroom faculty Buildings, 2Nos 10 classroom Faculty Buildings, 2Nos 8 class room faculty Buildings for the ESUT College of Medicine as well as Industrial Water Borehole, increase in Firefighting capacities by building fire stations in Oji, 9thmile, Four Corner, Orba and Ogrute providing boreholes, fencing etc.
In the tourism sector, the Nike Lake resort Hotel was beautifully renovated to international standard likewise the innovative creations in the Unity Park (former Forest reserve beside Okpara Square) to enhance tourism. The Religious sector is presently witnessing the construction of the first ever chapel of worship at the Government which is already at the completion stage.
The judiciary sector is also not left out with Land Scaping and Perimeter Fence at the Three Arm Zone, the extensive renovation of the state Judiciary Head Quarters likewise the construction of 1 High Court, 11 Magistrate Courts, 2 Open Registries as well as the permanent site of the State Customary Court of Appeal Head Quarters.
The recruitment of the Forest Guards and the regular commitments with the Neighbourhood watch together with the ‘MOPOL 76’ Mobile Force Squadron Facility for the Nigerian Police Force being constructed and the first CIE Annex for the South East Geo Political Zone which is situated in Enugu with a befitting office donated by the State Government are proofs that the administration is up to its game in the Security Sector. In the Education Sector, a whole lot has also been done, class room blocks have been constructed and reconstructed in all the 17LGAs in the state; youth programmes are also going on in the state under the SME Centres.
The State is working hard to ensure food sufficiency in both crop production and livestock production; the Efi Igbo Development Centre is ongoing likewise the CARES Programme with the distribution of rice improved seedlings as well as improved cassava stems, fertilizers and pesticides to farmers in the state to encourage dry season farming and many more achievements too numerous to mention.
A look at the 2021 Budget estimates confirms that the projections as reported by the Executive Governor were made on the macro and micro- economic indicators of national real GDP growth of 3%, national inflation rate of 11.95%, oil production benchmark of 1.6 million barrels per day, oil price bench mark of $40 per barrel and exchange rate of N380 per Dollar with a view of a prudent fiscal management of resources with priority to public expenditure as targeted in the Enugu State Medium Expenditure Framework (MTEF) 2021-2023 and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
Speaking Further, His Excellency; Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi pointed at the key capital projects of the state for the year 2021 as the construction of a flyover at the Nike Lake Resort road precisely by the consistently traffic congested T-Junction, landscaping of the International Conference Centre, rehabilitation of the 9th mile crash water programme, commencement of the AFD-funded 3rd National Urban Water Sector Reform Project, completion of the ESUT teaching hospital in Igbo Ano, establishment of Fertilizer blending plant and cottage Rice mill, completion of Enugu Ezike General Hospital and construction of its Amenity Building, integration of Adada Water Schemes in Enugu North Senatorial District and drilling of new water boreholes with storage facilities and reticulation across the state, installation of Astro-turf and Tartan Tracks and floodlighting with other works at the Nsukka Stadium, construction of Station Road- Subway Flyover/Underpass to Ogui Road with a spur to market road by Red-Cross and more urban and rural roads.
He thanked the Honorable members for playing in line with the ultimate dream of the Enugu Founding fathers of a peaceful, united, secure and prosperous Enugu State while also thanking the entire citizens of Enugu State for their unalloyed support to his administration even in the face of this very challenging year 2020.
The Honourable Speaker of the Enugu state House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi reciprocated with a show of appreciation to the ever-performing Governor whom he said has been leading beyond expectations even with unforeseen challenges. He lauded him for the economic transformations in the Nsukka LGA while referring to the remark made by the Governor as to the transformation of Nsukka; he equally advocated for the extension of those developmental strides to others parts of the state even though he has been doing tremendously well.
He however formally acknowledged receipt of the 2021 Budget estimates with an assurance to do the needful for the continued welfare and wellbeing of the entire citizens of Enugu State.