…..Mixed reactions trail Mbah’s 2024 budget proposal
Some stakeholders in Enugu on Thursday expressed divergent views over the 2024 Appropriation Bill presented to the state House of Assembly by Gov. Peter Mbah.
The stakeholders barred their minds in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu.
The governor had proposed a budget of N521,561,386,000.00, representing 132 per cent increase from the 2023 revised budget of N224,697,889,063, the highest in the state’s history.
A politician and a legal practitioner, John Nwobodo, told NAN that there were some contradictions and misalignments in the budget.
He commended the governor for identifying the need to improve teaching and learning in the state by proposing to build 260 Smart Model Basic Schools.
Nwobodo, however, described the proposed smart schools as a vogue and a white elephant project.
“Yes, it is good to provide serene learning environment equipped with modern facilities and equipment and integrating technology, AI and Robotics into the basic education curriculum.
“But of what relevance when there is no corresponding provision at the Upper Secondary education level including the tertiary education level, ” he said.
He further said that presently most public school buildings in the state were dilapidated and in a state of shambles with no school desks chalk board and so on.
“In my own opinion, the proposed projects are not likely to lead to eradication of poverty and achieving zero percent poverty headcount,” he said.
Also speaking, a banker and a current affairs analyst, Mr Steve Ofili, said the budget proposal had all the traces of ambitious projects.
He said the governor had shown that he is a man with vision, giving his projects outline but how he achieves his ambition through the budget remained to be seen.
“Though his vision, plans are okay but to me, I am not too optimistic about it’s actualisation, ” Ofili said.
However, a teacher, Mrs Ngozi Ugwueze, was full of joy and praises for the budget.
She told NAN that, the government of Mbah was the only government that remembered that `the reward of teachers is not in heaven but here on Earth.`
Also, Mr Daniel Ukwu, founder of Daniel Ukwu Foundation for Leadership, lauded the governor for the budget.
He said that the budget, if fully implemented, would lay the foundation for full industrialisation of the state
“Looking at the budget it is very bulky and the figures look unrealisable but my area of concern is education where he allocated 33 per cent.
“This would take care of teachers, building model schools, training and retraining of teachers which is a departure from what we were used to in the past,” he said
According to him, it is a progressive measure and a way of industrialising the state.
“It is a very commendable Budget. It is proactive, if he implements all the projects therein including roads construction and rehabilitation, schools, water and so on.
“It is a foundation budget but the amount, I don’t know how he’s going to realise it,” Ukwu said. (NAN)
By Benson Ezugwu