The Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, has charged the newly appointed Commissioner for Budget and Planning in the state, Mr. Chris Robert Ozongwu, to prioritize the projects that would impact directly on the lives of the people, urging him to quickly integrate into the team that would take the state to enviable heights.
The governor, who gave this charge at the Government House, Enugu, during the swearing-in ceremony of the commissioner on Monday, disclosed that the choice to appoint Mr. Ozongwu into his cabinet was influenced by his creditable track records and wealth of experiences over the years in his spheres of operations.
Mbah further expressed confidence that the budget under the commissioner would drive development, boost productivity, and optimize all the sectors.
He stressed the importance of planning in rejigging the revenue generation models of the state such that the government would no longer depend on the allocations coming from the federal government to discharge its duties to the people.
The governor also added that all the sectors of the economy must be reactivated to strengthen production, disrupt the status quo, and harness the dormant resources in the state into productive assets.
“As you all know, there is nothing we can achieve without planning. It is extremely important in this era of disruptive innovation where we have taken a bold view of what Enugu could achieve in the next four to eight years.
“It is important that we have solid plans in place that will ensure that our budget and the pattern of our budget are consistent with the goals and targets we have projected.
“We are no longer in the era where we have to do incremental budgeting, or budget that will regurgitate the previous year’s budget in the new budget. We have to be clear, and make sure that our budget reflects government’s priorities, and that we accurately capture the revenue that we must deploy to execute what we have provided for in our budget.
“We welcome you as part of the team that will take Enugu State to the promised land. Ours, as you know, is targeted at doing things completely differently. So, in preparing your budget and your planning, pay so much attention to the pattern and trend of growth we have experienced in the last 24 years.
“The view we have taken in terms of revenue is that we could generate more than we are generating now as a state. The current model that focuses so much on revenues from the federation account may have served us over the years, but it is no longer able to optimally serve us. And if we are talking about disruptive innovation, it means we have to disrupt the status quo, disrupt the suboptimality that is inherent with the current models. This means we have to look for creative alternative financing models; we have to make sure we intervene critically across all sectors.
“We would be expecting that engaging with the other members of your team, because they have all been told what the output targets are across the different sectors, and they now have to go back to put that into actionable plan, and that actionable plan will include the cost implications, and we would sit together and figure out how to find the money because it would not be business as usual. We are going to make sure we mobilize our domestic revenue, harness our dormant assets, transform them into productive assets, make sure we generate enough money to be able to fund this humongous and massive vision we have expressed to the people of Enugu state,” the governor further added.
On his part, the new commissioner thanked the governor for considering him worthy to be a member of his team, saying he was prepared for the battle to upstage the status quo and implement the lofty objectives of the administration.
He pledged commitment to the tasks that would be assigned to him, adding that he would not betray the trust and confidence reposed in him by the governor.
“I will discharge my duties in good faith and with respect and cooperation of my colleagues; I can assure you that we will do our best to deliver on this mandate,” he said.
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