Edo PDP, APC clash over N111.5bn state budget

Written by on January 14, 2016

oshiomoleThe Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress have disagreed over the proposed N111.5bn state budget proposal sent to the House of Assembly for approval by Governor Adams Oshiomhole for the year 2016.

Oshiomhole had on December 14, 2015, presented the budget, which he tagged ‘Budget of Finishing Well’, with a total of N58.9bn earmarked for capital expenditure, representing 52.84 per cent of the total budget, while recurrent expenditure was pegged at N52.6bn, which represents 47.16 per cent.

A breakdown of the budget showed that N14bn each was awarded to the education and health sub-sectors while road infrastructure was allocated N9.24bn and N8bn for flood and erosion control.

The state PDP has, however, faulted the proposed budget, describing it as a “budget of misappropriation.”

The state Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, told journalists during a press briefing on Tuesday, that it was sad that the state government neglected agriculture and the provision of water by appropriating paltry sums of N100m and N300m respectively to the two sectors, while security and ICT got N5bn and N400m respectively.

Orbih accused the governor of setting aside N3.5bn for the construction of the Accident and Emergency Ward at the Benin Central Hospital, which he alleged had become a conduit to siphon the state resources, saying funds had been allocated to the A and E wards in the last two budgets.

He said the state budget for 2016 had exposed what he described as the insensitivity of the state government to the plight of the residents, adding that the budget was designed to impoverish the people of the state and improve the lives of those in government.

The PDP chairman stated, “While Oshiomhole budgeted N10m as medical treatment for senior citizens in the 18 councils of the state, he has been doling out N4m to his aides in the name of medical treatment.

“Considering previous allocations to the Accident and Emergency ward at the Benin Central Hospital, the ward could go down in history as the most expensive hospital ward.”

But the leadership of the APC in the state dismissed the opposition party’s statement, describing it as false and one that indicated that the PDP had lost touch with the people of the state. The APC described the PDP as “a failed party is not in a position to speak about a performing party.”

The state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Godwin Erhahon, said on Wednesday that the PDP failed to meet the expectations of the people in several sectors, including the Central Hospital, as its “interest was in misappropriation.”

Erhahon added, “When they (PDP) were there, what was their contribution to the growth of health services and facilities in this state? What can they point to at the Central Hospital that they left for the succeeding regime? And therefore, they remain who they are – frustrated partly because they have lost touch with the people.

“Edo people know who is an expert in misappropriation. If you look at what Comrade Oshiomhole has done in the last seven years, nobody can dispute the fact that he has been a performer. Somebody who believes in misappropriation cannot do one-third of what he (Oshiomhole) has done so far. The PDP failed woefully because their interest was in misappropriation.”

On the allocation of N5bn for security, Erhahon said, “I think the governor is just being prudent. Otherwise, in a state where you have enemies of progress like the PDP, security has to be properly beefed up.

“What did the PDP leave for us in the water sector? They left nothing; what they left there, they vandalised. So, what is important for us is that even if we budget N100m, it should be judiciously utilised.”

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