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Soludo Presents N170 bn Revised Draft Budget for 2022

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Governor Chukwuma Soludo on Thursday presented the revised 2022 budget of N170 billion to the Anambra State House of Assembly.

The budget, tagged “Taking off from the blocks” represents a significant increase from the N141.9 billion spending plan presented by former Governor Willie Obiano in October last year, christened “Continuity, Sustainability and Development of a New Anambra.”

A breakdown of the figure shows that capital expenditure accounts for 64% of the total revised budget size, increasing by 33% from N81 billion to N108 billion, while recurrent expenditure increased marginally by 0.79% from N60 billion.

60% for Capital Spending

A great chunk of the budget totaling N52 billion (about 60% of the capital Expenditure), was dedicated to infrastructure, in keeping with Governor Soludo’s state of emergency declared on Anambra roads.

While presenting the budget, the Governor said the revision was to reflect the current realities, challenges, and priorities of his administration and Ndi Anambra.

He maintained that he is undaunted by the poor state of the treasury.

He said his government has seriously started reforming the system of tax administration in the state, to significantly ramp up internally generated revenue (IGR) in the coming years.

He also explained that he was working on a mixture of financing options, including debt to fund bankable projects.

We Inherited ‘Red Treasury’

“Among the challenges we inherited, a red treasury and pervasive insecurity especially with criminals taking the seven local governments of the South senatorial zone hostage were the most acute. 

“We have chosen to confront the foundational issue of security head-on and expected that those profiting from the lucrative criminal enterprise would viciously fight back, and they have. 

 “We are working on a mixture of financing options (including debt that is ring-fenced to fund bankable projects and/or infrastructure with impacts on the economy) to guarantee efficient and effective service delivery to our people while ensuring fiscal sustainability over the medium to longer terms. 

“The details of these will be laid out in our 2023 budget,” he said.  

He explained why 60% of the budget would be channeled towards capital expenditure.

State of Emergency on Roads

“For example, we have declared a state of emergency on rebuilding our road infrastructure and traffic management.  

“About N52 billion or about 31% of the total budget is for the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and we intend to simultaneously invest in roads in most of the local governments, paying special attention to our urban regeneration agenda.  

“We have requested the Federal Government to kindly intervene on an emergency basis on a number of federal roads in the state that have become nightmarish death traps.  

“We confidently expect their urgent responsive action. 

“But in the event that the expected response does not come soon, we may have to implement urgent palliatives in some places, especially at Amansea; Ekwulobia-Igboukwu-Nnobi road; Ogidi; etc where the roads are literally cutting off.”

26,000 Applications Received for Teacher Employment

Governor Soludo revealed plans by his government to recruit qualified medical doctors and nurses for the general hospitals and upscale the infrastructure in selected ones. 

He also disclosed that the state has already received over 26,000 applications in response to its advertisement on teacher recruitment and training for primary and secondary schools. 

According to him, visitation panels will review the operations of the state university, polytechnic, and college of education to provide the basis for our reforms.

Entertainment and Leisure Park Around Agulu Lake

“As a precursor to our planned entertainment and leisure city (envisaged to be the largest in Africa), we have budgeted in the interim to construct an expansive entertainment and leisure park around the Agulu Lake. 

“Yes, our administration is continuing with the ‘Community Choose Your Project’ initiative of my predecessor and has raised the value of the community projects to N25 million per community.

“Furthermore, to drive our “Everything Technology, and Technology Everywhere” strategy, the budget provides for a modern centralized ICT Data Centre to consolidate the state’s data and ensure business continuity in any and all circumstances. 
 
“We are commencing the digitisation of our land registry. Our agenda to deliberately orchestrate the emergence and empowerment of thousands of youth millionaires and a digital tribe is given its first impetus in this revised budget.  

Investment in Agriculture

“We promised to reinvent the oil palm and coconut revolution. 

“We have mobilised communities and the private sector for partnership and with overwhelming demand, we plan to provide 500,000—1,000,000 seedlings this year, and millions in subsequent years. 

“We have also provided significant seed money to commence pre-feasibility studies and designs for bankable projects, including possible new cities,” he said.  

Governance with Prudence

The Anambra helmsman promised that fiscal prudence will become a lifestyle under his watch, as the state cannot afford to waste one kobo, while transparent public finance management will be critical. 

According to him, that is why his government has also budgeted for the full computerisation of the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant-General. 

He however noted that managing the state’s over N120 billion debt, especially the contractor debt and pension liabilities in the context of the federation account receipts and burgeoning needs of Anambra people, will task his administration’s dexterity and demand hard choices and sacrifice.  

Pensioners Owed Over N20 billion in Gratuities

He revealed that his government has just received the preliminary report of the external consultants’ review of the local government finances which confirms that the combined state and local government gratuity liabilities to pensioners are over N20 billion. 

“We are determined to clean the books over time and align Anambra’s pension administration with the Pension Act and let our pensioners smile.  

“In the meantime, our administration has signaled new dawn by insisting that we won’t owe new retirees under my watch, while we have also started (albeit gradually) paying down the backlog.

New Partnerships with Development Partners 

“Our government is very serious in forging new development partnerships with the international development partners, the federal government, as well as the local government. 

“We are reforming our processes and ramping up our active engagements to maximise the benefits of such partnerships.  

“For example, we have budgeted to meet our counterpart funding requirements to access federal and development partner funds.  

“We are also working hard to restructure and reform our local government administration in conformity with the relevant laws. 

“We will actively collaborate with the local governments in the areas of waste management; cleaner, greener, and more environmentally sustainable communities; street lighting; fire service; qualitative primary school education; as well as planned modern markets, and security,” he said.

The Speaker of the House, Right Hon. Uche Okafor assured that the House will expeditiously attend to the revised draft state budget, to enable the governor to meet his promises to Anambra people.


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