Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the 2018 budget signed into law by Governor Godwin Obaseki is full of deceit and duplication.
It said the budget would inflict pains on people.
PDP said the budget was padded to the tune of N2.5 billion and funds were allocated to projects already completed and inaugurated by ex-Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
It said what made the budget unserious was the allocation of N15 billion to Office of the Governor.
The state Chairman of PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, speaking yesterday in Benin City at a news briefing, said it was worrisome that Obaseki allocated 10 per cent of the budget to his office at a time the people were experiencing hardship.
He accused Obaseki of wasting state’s funds on frivolous things by allocating N4 billion as security vote, N1.5 billion for Governor’s Office, N2.5 billion for central administration, N2.105 billion for governor’s entertainment and N1 million monthly for essential drugs for the governor.
Orbih alleged that the budget is padded to the tune of over N500 million under the guise of providing equipment for the Accident and Emergency ward and building of new emergency ward complex at Benin Central Hospital.
He said the provision of N134 million to build a water fountain in the budget was misplaced, as potable water is not available.
The PDP chairman said it was wrong to provide N100 million for start-up packs for young entrepreneurs and small loans and another N100 million for consultancy service.
According to him, “the APC government is unserious. If Obaseki is ill, he should let us know about his health status. How come we will use N1 million monthly to buy essential drugs for the governor? We are forced to ask what exactly is wrong with the governor?
“The man Oshiomhole foisted on us is not a technocrat. Look at the budget breakdown. They gave us a man that has no knowledge of governance. There is no functional public water in Benin City. Water Board is not functioning.
“You need to go into the details of the 2018 budget to know what we are talking about. The government has remained adamant to pensioners, but voted money to provide a water fountain.
“Some of the money is duplicated in other sub-heads. In the Ministry of Health, you will see Obaseki’s wonder.”
Reacting to the allegations, the governor said PDP could not appreciate plans and initiatives contained in 2018 budget because it was stuck in primitive politics and a system that glorified avarice.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, noted that the 2018 budget is meant to fix the damage caused by decades of misrule by PDP.
Obaseki said the budget was targeted at improving the well-being of the people and aimed towards enhancing enterprise, building infrastructure, promoting agriculture, enhancing job creation and social economic well-being of Edo people.
He added: “Specifically, some roads that will be built this year were budgeted for by PDP in the past and money was released, which ended up in their private safes. These roads were not constructed. We have the same issues in the education sector where money was released to build schools, only to be stolen. But under Governor Obaseki, we are seeing roads being fixed everywhere and this will continue in the years to come. PDP is bitter because there is no more money to share for birthday parties and ego trips. This budget will address the needs of ordinary people.
“Hard as they tried, they cannot say Governor Obaseki allocated any sum to himself, his family or his party, as is the stock in trade of PDP. The budget is clear in its purpose.
“Specifically, given the need to fast-track development, the 2018 budget is focused on key areas that can easily spur growth. Over 60 per cent of the budget went to infrastructure; around 20 per cent to growth enablers, such as job creation and agriculture. Law and order got 10 per cent because PDP bastardised the state when it was at the helm and almost succeeded in turning the state to a place without order.
“But we understand why PDP will come out to make these spurious allegations. In their heyday, they built roads on paper; the budgets were for the fun of it. Roads were budgeted for but no one could see where they were built. These, for them, were their hallmarks of governance. The culture of stealing and greed, of appropriating to themselves the commonwealth of the state still runs fresh in their veins. So, it is not a surprise that they are stuck in primitive politics and expect that others will wallow in such lows with them. This is just to let them know that the 2018 budget is for the people and for the growth of the state.”