The Ebonyi State Government has organized a Citizens’ input and consultation to inject opinion of citizens into the 2023 Budget Estimate.
The Citizens’ input and consultation meeting was held at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki, Tuesday.
Speaking on the 2023 Budget Estimate tagged “Budget of Divine Mandate Consolidation and Continuity” estimated at one hundred and thirty nine billion naira, Governor Umahi said the priority areas would be health, education, Agriculture, Infrastructure and Human Capital development.
The Governor who clarified that the 2022 Budget of Later Rain has been implemented to 75% said he was satisfied that Government was fast executing the 199 kilometre Abakaliki Ring Road project.
He noted that the road project already executed to 93% would further open up the rural areas to the City.
Governor Umahi also restated his determination to lay Foundation for the establishment of the Universities of Aeronautical Engineering in Onueke and the ICT in Oferekpe before his administration winds down in 2023.
The Governor also emphasized that the welfare of Civil Servants would enjoy priority attention under the 2023 Budget.
“To the Civil Servants we have earmarked alot of money to pay off all inherited pensions and gratuities before the end of 2023.
“From January 1, we are proposing to pay between one hundred thousand to five hundred thousand Ebonyians ten thousand monthly for five months and they shall be called Laison Officers.”
To ensure relative peace and security during the yuletide and electioneering, Governor Umahi announced plans to ban activities of motorcyclists beyond 7pm in Abakaliki Capital City and environs.
Governor Umahi directed the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Cletus Ofoke to come up with an Executive order to give effect to the ban going into festivities.
“HAG will come up with Executive order banning the operation of motorcycle from 7pm to 6am in Ebonyi State. If you want to use motorcycle use it in the day time before 7pm.
“They say security is everyone’s business, so you have to make sacrifices. For those kicking against Ebubeagu, you are just wasting your time, Ebubeagu has come to stay, those who are afraid of Ebubeagu are those who are formenting trouble in Ebonyi State.”
Governor Umahi also appealled to Ebonyians to stay away from hate speeches and fake news to avoid overheating the polity going into the general elections.
“We will not tolerate hate speech in Ebonyi State and falsehood, freedom of speech does not amount to falsehood, it does not amount to fake news. Part of the insecurity in Nigeria is still because of fake news and hate speeches.”
The Governor also announced ban on hosting of activities in public schools across the State noting that anyone wishing to do so would first obtain permission from the Commissioner for Education.
“From first of November, no rallies in Schools, for you to do the rally, you must get approval from the Commissioner for Education”.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Finance, Orlando Nweze identified the Federal Allocation, Internally Generated Revenue and funds from Development partners as projected sources of income to finance the 2023 Budget.
The Commissioner also listed upgrading of the Primary Health Centres and Solar powered streetlights as some of the priority areas of Government under the 2023 Budget.
Participants at the Citizens input meeting including Disabled Groups, Women Organizations, National Youth Council, Civil Society Groups, nongovernmental and faith based organizations made contributions into the 2023 Budget Estimate set to be presented to the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.