…..Expert hails Gov. Mbah for ambitious 2024 Budget, but says projections unrealistic
A Development Economist, Prof. Chiwuike Uba, has lauded Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State for an ambitious 2024 Budget proposal but observes that its projections are unrealistic from economic realities.
Uba is also the Executive Director, Amaka Chiwuike Uba Foundation (ACUF), an NGO.
Uba, said this in a statement titled: “2024 Enugu State Budget: Audaciously ambitious, undeniably unrealistic”, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Enugu.
Mbah, on Dec. 5, presented a budget of ₦521.6 billion, tagged: “Budget of Disruptive Economic Growth,” to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
Uba said that Mbah’s aspiration to expand the state economy was indeed a commendable initiative that deserved recognition and appreciation from the people of Enugu State.
According to him, the budget reflects the government’s genuine commitment to fulfill the promises made during the governor’s campaign, aptly titled “Tomorrow is here”, and also signifies a resolute determination to rapidly develop and advance the state’s economy.
“At its core, the philosophy behind the 2024 budget is centered on actively involving the private sector in generating disruptive growth through investments in vital infrastructure, amenities, transport services, and the modernisation and digitalisation of public services and their associated processes.
“This forward-thinking approach is deserving of praise as it showcases the government’s foresight to leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector to achieve sustainable development and progress for Enugu State.
“Furthermore, the government’s unwavering focus on eradicating poverty through the aggressive enhancement of education and public health systems as well as the ambitious plan to increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), is laudable.
“By prioritising these key areas, the government is proactively addressing the social and economic challenges faced by the people of Enugu State, aiming to uplift their quality of life and create a more inclusive and prosperous society,” he said.
The economist, however, said the 2024 budget proposal was characterised by audacious ambition, adding that it was essential to acknowledge the undeniable reality that some of its projections might be deemed unrealistic.
Uba said there appeared to be a certain inconsistency between the revenue and expenditure estimates outlined in the budget and the overall policy direction articulated in the Governor’s Budget Speech.
He said that those discrepancies could potentially lead to challenges in implementation and hinder the desired outcomes of the budget.
He said: “Additionally, it is crucial to consider the potential implications of the proposed disruptive increase in tax and fees for increased revenue.
“While these measures may be viewed as necessary to meet the budget’s financial objectives, it is vital to assess their potential impact on the ease of doing business in the state.
“Such an increase in costs may inadvertently create challenges for entrepreneurs and businesses.
He said this might ultimately hinder economic growth and exacerbating the existing poverty situation in Enugu State, where about 61.3 per cent of the population already struggled with multidimensional poverty.
The economist noted that the budget proposal demonstrated commendable intentions and ambitious goals; however, it remained important for policymakers to carefully evaluate the feasibility and potential economic and social consequences of the proposed measures.
He said this would be done by ensuring alignment between revenue projections and policy direction.
“While also prioritising the needs and well-being of the people, the Enugu State Government can effectively steer the state towards sustainable and inclusive development.”
This may ultimately translate the promises of the “Tomorrow is here” campaign into meaningful and tangible progress, he said. (NAN)