Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has earmarked an ambitious 33 per cent in 2024 budgetary allocation, which amounts to N134.5 billion, to the education sector of the state.
It is recorded that Enugu State under Gov. Mbah is the first state in Nigeria to allocate such a percentage and amount to education; thus, surpassing the United Nation’s recommended 25 per cent threshold for education.
Mbah declared this on Tuesday while presenting the proposed 2024 Budget Allocation tagged: “Budget of Disruptive Economic Growth,” to the Enugu State House of Assembly for consideration.
The governor presented a gigantic N521.5 billion for 2024 budget for the state, adding that it was an ambitious and highest budgetary allocation in the state’s history meant to expand the economy of the state.
According to him, in the total estimate, Enugu State proposes N107.2 billion is for recurrent expenditure and N414.3 billion capital expenditure for the fiscal year of 2024.
He said: “We have taken the view that one of the surest ways of ensuring sustainable eradication of poverty is through the aggressive enhancement of our education and public health systems.
“After all, we know that education correlates all over the globe with economic advancement and prosperity, while health on the other hand, is critical for the optimisation of the human resources of any nation or sub- national entity.”
The governor further said that in line with the government’s commitment to reinvent the education system in the state “we are constructing 260 Smart Model Basic Schools across the 260 Wards in the State which will rank amongst the best in the country.
“The pilot Smart Model Basic School in Owo community in Nkanu East Local Government Area is now ready for commissioning and similar schools will be replicated in all the 260 Wards across the 17 LG Councils in the State.
“We are also in the process of constructing 260 Type-2 Primary Health Centres across the 260 wards in the state to cater for the health needs of rural communities which are paramount in our health care agenda,” he said.
On security, Mbah said that no economic growth is possible without security, adding: “We have ensured the discontinuation of the ignoble Monday sit-at-home campaign.
“We have boosted the security framework within the State with the introduction of the Distress Response Squad, which has recorded several successes, effectively bringing the crime rate in Enugu State to a bare minimum.
“We are going further by commencing the installation of a CCTV surveillance network around the State. Work is at an advanced stage on this initiative,” he said.
The governor noted that reliance on allocations from Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) had not served the state and “is unlikely” not to take the state to “the promised land;” adding that the state was pushing hard in maximising its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Consequently, this budget has a philosophy to maximise our IGR efforts, by improving efficiency of collections, enhancing efficacy of government services to the populace and evolving creative new IGR sources particularly by optimising our natural resources e.g. improved oversight and regulation of mining activities and landed assets.
“All these are in our vision to make Enugu one of the top three states in Nigeria in terms of Gross Domestic Product and achieve a zero percent rate in the poverty headcount index.
“We also intend to grow our GDP from the current $4.4b to $30b before 2031,” he noted.
Mbah said that his administration within a few months had achieved the following: launched the ultra modern water scheme at Ninth mile which has a daily production capacity of 70 million cubic meters (70,000,000m3) of clean water, combined with the production of 50 million cubic litres from Oji River.
This, he said, had capacity to give out a total daily volume of 120 million cubic meters a day as against less than 2,000,000m3 he meet on resumption of office.
He said: “This achievement disrupts over two decades water scarcity in Enugu urban, and also fulfils our promise to Ndi Enugu to provide Enugu urban residents with water within 180 days.
“We have awarded contracts for the construction and rehabilitation work on the over 81 roads including several urban roads as well as some priority non-urban roads.
“Dualisation of Enugu Airport flyover, to Eke Obinagu and Ebonyi border approximately 22km and also construction of Owo-Ubahu-Ama Nkanu-Neke-ikem road of approximately 45km. As you may be aware, work on these roads has since commenced.”
The governor said that his administration had expanded the National Cash Transfer Register of the Federal Government from 43,000 to260,000 beneficiaries, adding that the expansion was to accommodate more poor and vulnerable residents in the state in line with the vision to eradicate poverty.
He said: “We have commenced the accumulation of 300,000 hectares of land for our land bank, which will be made available to corporate farmers for massive cultivation of agro produce.
“In line with this, one partner firm is already planting cassava under the pilot scheme of Cassava to Ethanol Programme in Aninri, Nkanu East, and Uzo Uwani LGAs.
“Related to this we are advancing conversations with key development agencies for the development of Special Agro Processing Zones (SAPZs) in the three senatorial areas of the State.
“We also held the Enugu State Investment Roundtable which attracted the best of the private sector as well as development partners such as AfDB, AFREXIM, FCDO, the World Bank, etc; thus, signalling our government’s zeal to transform Enugu State into private sector driven economy,” he added.