Enugu State Budget and APC moves to block revenue generation
By Uwakwe Abugu
In its now well-known beaten path of crying wolf where there is none just for the sake of seeking a nonexistent relevance as opposition party in Enugu state, some officials of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stunned critical observers of the ailing economy of the nation by condemning plans by Enugu State Government to shore up its revenue base in the 2016 fiscal year by generating funds through taxation.
Either inadvertently or merely displaying seeming ignorance of the economic mood of the nation, the state chapter of APC in the statement purportedly issued by Mrs. Kate Offor, its state publicity secretary described the 2016 budget proposal of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as prone to excessive taxation.
While Mrs. Offor was busy attacking Governor Ugwuanyi on Sunday for proposing to raise more funds from taxation in the 2016 appropriation bill presented to the State House of Assembly, the minister of National Planning, Udo Udoma, was explaining to Nigerians how the federal government formed by the APC will within the same fiscal year of 2016 raise trillions of Naira from taxes as one measure to cushion the effects of the crashing oil proioces on the nation's economy almost solely powered by oil revenue.
Is the state chapter of APC living in the past or so oblivious of the programmes of its government at the centre that it did not realise that the attack on Enugu State Government's move to augment the sharp fall in oil revenue constitutes a clear attack on the federal government's tax policy which has been designed in the present circumstance to generate trillions of Naira for the apex government? Or is its condemnation of the Enugu own scheme a part of its usual orgy of orchestration of attacks on the state government just for the sake of making its voice heard at all costs?
Another aspect of the Enugu APC statement that would beat any imagination is its wishful thinking in trying to dictate to Governor Ugwuanyi how to run his administration. Whereas the governor and his team have long since swung into action to dramatically raise the government's internally-generated revenue through various sources including taxes, the opposition party wants him to abandon this noble course of action and rather pursue only actions for the recovery of funds allegedly stolen by the past administration in the state.
Irrational enough as the charge appears, the APC would also want the governor to become lawless and assume the position of law enforcement agents, other prosecutors and the courts of the land when it urged him to go after those it said have stolen billions of Naira from the state treasury. We make hast to point it out to Mrs. Offor that it is not the responsibility of the governor to prosecute anyone who has committed offence against the state but the responsibility of the relevant law-enforcement agencies.
If Mrs. Offor's APC in the state is patriotic enough, it should join hands with the state government to get all individuals, corporate bodies and agencies whose compliance to payment of taxes have left much to be desired in the past years to shape up.
It would also amount to assume the position of the state chief executive for the opposition party to dictate to the governor which method would suit his administration in curbing untoward developments, if any, in the Enugu State Primary Education Board when the party condemned the use of an administrative committee to appraise execution of contracts by the board.
For goodness sake, the governor who obtained his mandate freely and very massively from the good people of Enugu state has been bestowed with an inalienable right to use his own workable ways to exercise checks and balances in organs of the government with a view to correcting the wrongs of the past or improving the ways government is run. No opposition party can take that away from him..
Again, because of its penchant for attacking this administration just for the sake of criticism, the statement quoted Mrs. Offor as saying that the APC in Enugu state doubted the capacity of Governor Ugwuanyi to provide the needed critical infrastructure as promised in the budget speech. Why would the party not commend the governor for going on with roads construction in parts of the state as well as going on to pay salaries of civil servants on or before the 25th of every month whereas many state governments are known to be owing workers arrears of monthly salaries, just to mention but a few?
The fact remains that Governor Ugwuanyi remains focused. No degree of deliberately orchestrated acts