By Stanley Nwako
Anambra State Government has presented the 2023 draft budget of about two hundred and sixty billion as against the 2022 revised draft budget size of one hundred and seventy billion naira.
Presenting the budget estimate at the State House of Assembly, Governor Chukwuma Soludo said the 2023 budget draft budget entitled: “Budget of Acceleration” is in the context of a very bumpy national and international order, when the nation is reeling under the economic challenges of unsustainable macroeconomic framework.
Governor Soludo presented a draft revised 2022 budget entitled “Taking Off from the Blocks”, to the Anambra State House of Assembly.
Barely seven months after, Governor Soludo has yet again presented another draft 2023 budget estimate to the state House of Assembly.
The budget has a capital expenditure of N163.5 billion accounting for 63.5% while the recurrent expenditure of N95.5 billion accounts for 36.9%. It also has a deficit of N13 billion.
“We are here to present to you a draft budget of about N259.0 billion (compared to the revised 2022 budget of N170 billion), with the capital budget of N163.5 billion accounting for 63.1% while the recurrent expenditure of N95.5 billion accounts for 36.9%.
It has a deficit of N13.0 billion. Mr. Speaker, this House approved for us to borrow N100 billion to part-finance the revised 2022 budget.
So far we have not borrowed a kobo. We have however applied for N90 billion out of the approved N100 billion, and when it comes (we expect so in a few weeks’ time), we plan to roll it over as part of the 2023 financing”.
According to Governor Soludo, the budget was hinged on the premise to enable his administration focus on its determination to continue to press hard on its quest to achieving its mandate despite the daunting challenges being encountered.
Professor Soludo restated his commitment to transforming Anambra into a livable and prosperous smart megacity that would be the preferred destination to live, invest and work.
“Daunting as the above may seem, we remain resolute and with our eyes firmly focused on the ball. As you are aware, we promised our people disruptive changes that will put us on the long term path of sustainable transformation as embodied in our Manifesto, the “Soludo Solution:
A People’s Manifesto”. Our goal is to transform Anambra into a livable and prosperous smart megacity that is the preferred destination to live, invest, learn, work and relax/enjoy. Every one of the five pillars of our agenda is receiving systematic attention:
security, law and order; robust economic transformation from an informal economy into a new industrial-tech- leisure hub; a comprehensive social agenda for a human capital bank that is productive at home and exportable abroad and leaves no one behind; transparent, prudent and accountable governance underpinned by a new value system; and a sustainable environment through clean, green, planned and sustainable communities, markets, and cities” Governor Soludo said.
Governor Soludo while stressing that over the past seven months, despite the challenges, his administration has been able to address some of the foundational issues.
“Over the past seven months, we have been moving at frenetic speed, addressing head-on some of the foundational issues.
Today is not the day for presentation of our score card: we shall do so in a few months’ time during our first year anniversary. Suffice it to say however that so far, so good. Just two or three examples suffice.
On security, we launched the citizen-security partnership to “take back our State” and today, the eight local governments that were literally under the occupation of the criminals when we assumed office have been liberated.
“The criminals now know that Anambra has zero tolerance for criminality. Of course, it took years for them to take root, and given the lucrative nature of kidnapping, we don’t expect them to disappear completely over-night.
But our resolve to completely rid Anambra of these criminals is total, and we thank all the federal security forces, our state vigilante service, the citizens’ “if you see something, say something” initiative, the donors to Anambra security trust fund, etc for their unflinching commitment.
“Anambra is winning and no doubt one of the safest states in Nigeria today! We have also declared zero tolerance for touting (agberos), and offered to help them transit into more productive ventures. Our various enforcement teams to ensure law and order are getting better by the day”.
Governor Soludo, who recounted that the House approved to borrow N100 billion to part-finance the revised 2022 budget, said that his government has only applied for N90 billion out of the approved N100 billion, expected to be rolled over as part of 2023 financing.
“Mr. Speaker, this House approved for us to borrow N100 billion to part-finance the revised 2022 budget. So far we have not borrowed a kobo. We have however applied for N90 billion out of the approved N100 billion, and when it comes (we expect so in a few weeks’ time), we plan to roll it over as part of the 2023 financing”.
He further hinted on his administration’s plan to complete the building of the Anambra Airport within the 2023 fiscal year with major emphasis on the environment.
Earlier, the Speaker Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr. Uchenna Okafor, remarked that the Governor had taken great steps towards moving the state to greater heights, even as he said that the content of the 2023 draft budget were structured in line with the burning desire to run a quality government.
The Speaker, who expressed joy that within the eight months in office, Governor Soludo was able to flag off construction of about 220 kilometers of roads, improved on security architecture and environmental sanitation, employed more teachers among others.
He assured that the state legislature would join hands with the Governor to ensure that the present administration succeeds in all fronts, through enactment of laws and resolutions aimed at improving the living standards of the citizenry.
The budget has already passed through first and second readings at the House of Assembly.