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Dr. Peter Mbah, the Governor of Enugu State, has foreseen a bright 2024 for Nigeria, advising citizens to stay hopeful as the positive impacts of certain economic policies implemented in 2023 are projected to unfold in the new year.
Governor Mbah expressed confidence in disruptive economic growth for the people of Enugu State in the new year. He attributed this to the implementation of various projects, policies, and laws, including the state’s 2024 Appropriation Law, in the just-ended year.
The governor communicated this sentiment in his New Year message to Nigerians and the populace of Enugu State on Sunday.
He said: ‘It is not in doubt that 2023 was a very difficult year for Nigerians, especially given the temporary hardships occasioned by some hard, but inevitable, policies of the Federal Government, such as the removal of fuel subsidy and unification of exchange rates.’
‘But I am very confident that the gales of inflation, unemployment, and general high cost of living will abate in the coming year.’
‘The onus is, however, on us, as leaders, at every stratum of government, to intensify efforts and initiatives to not only mitigate the immediate hardships, but also take advantage of the economic policies to put the nation on the path of prosperity.’
Recalling some landmark groundworks done by his administration since its inauguration on 29th May, 2023, Mbah said he had no doubt whatsoever that Enugu was at the cusp of economic prosperity.
‘In the past seven months, we had endeavoured to lay foundations for a new and prosperous Enugu State that would be a premier destination for business, investment, tourism and living.’
‘We equally undertook monumental tasks that broke decades-old jinxes in some sectors.’
‘As promised during the campaigns, we were able to deliver potable water to Enugu metropolis in 180 days.’
‘We were able to raise water production from an occasional 2 million litres to 120 million litres per day, even as we continue to address teething challenges like leakages and sabotage while also expanding reticulation.’
‘We took advantage of the Electricity Act, 2023, signed by President Bola Tinubu in June by immediately initiating the Enugu State Electricity Law, which I signed in September to pave the way for an Enugu electricity market to support our investment and the industrialisation drive.’
‘We are cashing in on the FG’s economic policies in our quest for foreign direct investment, FDI, holding the maiden Enugu State Investment and Economic Growth Plan Stakeholders Roundtable, organising or participating in various local and international investment forums to rally investments to our state, and the results are massive.’
‘We have equally fought insecurity, criminality, and agent provocateurs to standstill; hence, today, Enugu is safe and ready for business.’
‘We are currently constructing or reconstructing 71 urban roads in Enugu metropolis and ten other major roads across the state, including the 40km Owo-Ubahu-Amankanu-Neke-Ikem dual-carriage way, while the construction of the 10,000-hectare New Enugu City has begun.’
‘We have already begun the construction of 260 smart schools across the electoral wards to provide modern basic education to Enugu children from creche to junior secondary in addition to world-class 260 Type-2 primary healthcare centres for all the wards across the state.’
‘In pursuit of ease of doing business, we are automating service delivery across the MDAs, including the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development such that you will be able to process and obtain your Certificate of Occupancy in 72 hours.’
‘Importantly, we have proposed an ambitious, but very realisable N521.5bn 2024 budget where we earmarked N414.3bn or 79 per cent of the budget for Capital Expenditure and N107.2bn, which is 21 per cent of the budget as Recurrent Expenditure. We equally set aside a record N134.9bn or 33 per cent of the budget to revamp education. We voted N207.8bn for the Economic Sector, N182.9 billion for the Social Sector, N82.5 billion for infrastructure, N28.9 billion for water, N25.1 billion for agriculture, and N21.7 billion for health, while also paying special attention to security and job creation.’
‘Instructively, borrowing constitutes an infinitesimal 12 per cent of our funding, while we will rally over N300bn domestically as IGR to fund the budget.’
‘In essence, Enugu State, under our watch, is set for disruptive economic growth and 2024 is our year of turnaround, as we work towards creating a $30bn economy in the next four to eight years.’
However, he assured that his administration would persist in prioritizing the welfare of citizens.
‘We will sustain our deliberate steps in forms of palliatives, wage awards, planned subsidised mass-transit buses, among others, to alleviate the immediate economic hardships faced by our people. So, we urge Ndi Enugu to keep the faith even as we count on their support and prayers,’ he added.
Mbah sent warm New Year wishes to the people of Enugu State and Nigeria, expressing hopes for a celebration devoid of any disruptions.