“Examining the Risks and Concerns of Otti’s 2024 Budget Proposal” by Barr Ememanka(documents) | #NwokeukwuMascot

  Opinion  

...'Interrogating Otti's 2024 budget by Barr. Onyebuchi Ememanka' | #NwokeukwuMascot 

 Gov Otti presenting the 2024 budget 

  Yesterday, Governor Alex Otti was at the State House of Assembly to present his first budget proposal for the State, the 2014 Budget.

Budgets are serious issues and I took my time to read his speech very carefully. The tone of the budget speech of a Governor is naturally a clear signpost of his mindset towards the development of the State.

The summary of the 2024 budget as presented by the Governor is as follows: 

1.) A total expenditure of 567.2 Billion Naira. This figure is more than 400 Billion Naira higher than the 2023 budget.

On paper, this looks very ambitious and bold but looking closer, one notices a worrisome aspect. While Otti plans to spend 567.2 Billion in 2024, total aggregate revenue available to the state from ALL channels is a little over 166 Billion Naira, leaving a net deficit budget of about 401 Billion Naira.

Otti plans to finance this deficit by BORROWING a total of 387.2 Billion Naira in 2024!

This is more than double of the entire current debt stock of Abia State.

This is where I am worried.

So does it mean that Otti's solution to our economy is to borrow money and spend it. Only?

So, all the noise about being an Economist and astute manager is just about borrowing money and spending it?

Since the creation of Abia State in 1991, our total debt stock, including carry over loans from Imo State have never gone beyond 100 Billion. Now in one fell swoop, Otti wants to borrow 387.2 Billion?

 ©️Eke O Eke  

I thought Otti, the first class economist was coming to manage our resources prudently after building his campaigns over the years on accusing previous administration of not managing our funds well and stealing them. Has he now realized that funds available to government are simply not enough to build the kind of infrastructure we all want?

When Otti took over, he made so much headlines about the debt stock of the State. In his usual style, he gave the impression that it was the Ikpeazu administration that incurred all the debts. In his strategy of demonizing his predecessor, he never told the truth that the debt stock represented every kobo owed by the State since creation, and with foreign exchange differentials.

So, taking loans has now become a tool of economic development?

The same Otti who wrote several letters to stop the facility Ikpeazu was working on from the African Development Bank for the construction of PH Road Aba and other projects? Today, that loan has matured and Otti will receive 150 Million Dollars, yet he wants to take more than double that amount as loan?

I laugh when people show excitement that 84% of the budget will be spent on capital projects. With the kind of expenditure Otti claims to make on PH Road at 30 Billion Naira for a 5.6 km road, you can imagine what will happen to the bulk of the money.

If Otti's solution to our problems is to borrow close to 400 Billion Naira in his first year as Governor, then I wish all of us good luck.

Welcome to the era of VOODOO ECONOMICS!

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