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Low budgeting hinders development in Abia ― Emenike, APC governorship candidate

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Abia State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Ikechi Emenike has identified low budgeting as the major impediment to the economic growth and development of the state.

Chief Emenike expressed the view on Thursday when he addressed a non-partisan stakeholders’ forum at Ututu in Arochukwu local government in continuation of his consultations and mobilisation of like minds for a collective drive towards changing the narrative of Abia.

The development economist noted that successive administrations in the state have been running Abia on low budgets of less than N200 billion, which according to him, is insufficient to pull the state out of underdevelopment.

“Any budget less than N200 billion cannot develop Abia,” he insisted, adding that he would find creative ways to enhance the state budget to be able to meet the demands of developing the state to enviable heights.

In the past three years, the state administration has been turning out less than N200 billion in its final policies with N137.419 billion for 2020, N131.815 billion in 2021 while N157.282 billion was budgeted for the 2022 fiscal year.

Though the 2022 budget recorded a 10.81 per cent increase above the 2021 fiscal policy, it still fell short.

Emenike, who is “‘leading a mass movement to rescue and develop Abia,” promised to set up “building blocks of development” that would place the state on the path of growth.

The APC candidate hopeful further observed that Abia budgets usually failed to “reflect the needs of the people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries” of the government’s fiscal policies.

“The budget of Abia should have the face of every Abian in it,” he said, pointing out that “citizens see themselves in the budget of countries where good governance is practised.”

Decrying the travails of Abia workers and pensioners, due to arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities, Emenike noted that the government would not have found itself in such a mess if budgets were truly people-oriented.

He promised to devise a means to tackle the pension arrears by constituting a committee of pensioners on a rotational basis to manage the payment of pensions and clear the arrears.

Emenike, who is widely travelled and has done business with international financial institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and other development agencies, pledged to leverage his experience and international networks to stimulate economic growth in Abia and build “a first world state within a third world country.”

“There will be economic activities in every local government of Abia,” Emenike stated.

He urged the stakeholders to join the revolution to liberate Abia from bad managers so that the ‘ God’s own state’ could start experiencing good things from 2023.

“You are a stakeholder in Abia and you must be concerned with the bad condition of the state. Let us say no to bad governance; let everybody stand up to be counted in our rescue mission,” he said.

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