MY TAKE ON THE PROPOSED 2024 BUDGET BY ALEX OTTI.
Chief Obinna Oriaku with all due respect sir, it is not that your well researched and well ventilated and expert analysis was being ignored or given less attention, you should understand that a lot of people read budgetary perspectives from divergent interests myself included.
Whereas you are more more inclined to attach more value to human capital development as against infrastructure for very obvious reasons, some of us are getting to like the budgetary thematic that anchors so strongly on developing infrastructure across the state.
For an organization like Abia Infrastructure Mandate, the Alex Otti budget that devotes 84 percent projection estimates to capital expenditure will go without blemish. Do not forget that Abia state for 24 years of PDP administration was being gaslighted and roundly condemned for near zero infrastructural output.
Abia not only was trailing other state in the sector but became a pathetic byline in the comity of other states. By making the 2024 budget infrastructure centered, Dr Alex Otti is unarguably giving adequate response to what was met on ground on May 29th handover date.
The issues of salary, pensions and emolument of the state workforce, they all fall under the consumption strata and very often has been subject of institutional manipulations, corruptuon, fraud, malfeasance, cronyism, favoritism, classysm, inequity, lack of due process, lack of transparency etcetera on the part of past administrations.
If I should further speak my mind on the subject matter, the salaried and civil service class with their dependants accounting for less than 5 percent of our projected population should not be allowed to consume more than 10 percent of our total earnings.
The successive manipulations of past regimes in the State of dumping a residue of their family members, clans members, friends and cronies with less qualifications as the State workforce has been the reason for unaccounted ballooning of the state workforce to the unacceptable figures met on ground by Alex Otti on Inauguration day.
This outrageous workforce with no productivity to show for it ought to be downsized to manageable levels and shouldn’t constitute further reasons why the state should remain undeveloped amid depleting resources.
N91 Biilion Naira or about 15 percent of total earnings provided in the budget for consumption for most of these unproductive class is fair enough figure going by the sorry state of development of the state today. Our further interrogation should be centered on how this over N400 Billion of both the borrowed and earned would be made to account for real infrastructure revolution in the state.
I will further opine or advise that efforts should be made by the ruling class to ramp up the IGR earnings in the state. I quite agree with some budget critics that IGR remains the mirror image with which the donor agencies and investor public assess or rate budget performance either low or high. We cannot afford to be treating our IGR regime with kid gloves. Abia state has capacity to be among the top ten in the chart of highest IGR states.
The governor must take a second look on the various institutions that are generating revenue for the state and adopt a more transparent and purposeful approach to get out-of-the-box results.
Having laid out these issues, I must say that the 2024 budget is more of positives and quite refreshing for an Abia state that was turned to a garbage bin by past administrations.
Long live Abia State.
Dr. Engr Odo Ijere.