ENUGU GOVT TO SPEND N1.95B ON ‘TOYOTA PRADO SUVs’ FOR 24 LAWMAKERS AMID HUNGER, ECONOMIC HARDSHIP
Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State is allegedly planning to spend N1.95 billion on new SUVs – Toyota Prado – for the 24 members of the state House of Assembly amidst economic challenges facing the state.
The amount is contained in the state’s 2024 appropriation bill of N521.5 billion signed into law.
The budget comprises N414.3 billion earmarked for capital expenditure which represents 79 percent of the N521.5 billion, and N107.2 billion recurrent expenditure, which is 21 percent of the estimate.
Speaking after the signing, Mbah said the budget would “drive disruptive economic growth, radical infrastructural development, and efficient service delivery”.
“What this budget signing means to the people of Enugu is that we are going to be spending over N400bn on capital projects in the next year,” the governor had said.
“You can imagine an economy that is typically used to doing N20bn capital expenditure now going to witness over N400bn capital expenditure.
“It is going to be monumental in the ways our people are lifted out of poverty and in the ways economic activities will blossom.”
A check on the budget by SaharaReporters showed that N1,950,000,000 was approved for “Procurement of Toyota Prado jeep for newly elected House members.”
The opposition Labour Party has the majority of the 24 lawmakers in the state assembly.
LP, after the 2023 elections, won 14 seats against 10 won by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
But LP could not produce the Speaker or Deputy Speaker because there is a subsisting House rule that does not permit fresh members from being elected to such positions.
According to the Standing Orders of the Enugu Assembly, to become Speaker or Deputy Speaker, the candidate must be a ranking member of the Assembly.
However, critics have described Mbah’s action to buy cars for lawmakers as a “misplacement of priority” for a state said to be cash-strapped. They claimed residents of the state like other Nigerians are going through a spike in cost of living and hunger.