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Soludo Presents N170bn ‘Take Off Budget’ To House Of Assembly

Gov Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, Thursday, presented an annual budget of N170bn to the state House of Assembly.

The budget is tagged ‘Taking Off from the Blocks’.

He said, “The revised budget size is about N170 billion versus the existing appropriation of N142 billion (with the capital expenditure accounting for 64% compared to 57% previously). Capital expenditure increased by 33% from N81 billion to N108 billion while the recurrent expenditure increased marginally by 0.79% from N60 billion.

“We left the budget on security unchanged while we count on off budget resources from donations to augment. As a reflection of our agenda, about 60% of the capital expenditure is targeted at delivering infrastructure that the average citizen can feel, see, use or touch and which have the highest developmental impact within the shortest possible time.”

On agriculture, he said, “We plan to provide 500,000—1,000,000 seedlings this year, and millions in subsequent years. We have also provided for significant seed money to commence pre-feasibility studies and designs for bankable projects, including possible new cities.”

Soludo regretted that On August 27 this year, Anambra State would celebrate its 31st anniversary as a state but without a proper Government House and a Governor’s Lodge, adding that the revised budget would correct it.

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He regretted the kidnap of a lawmaker in the state earlier this week.

According to him, “I regret however that one of you, the member representing the good people of Aguata II Constituency in the House of Assembly (my own representative), Hon Okechukwu Okoye, is still in the custody of the kidnappers. The security agencies are working very hard and around the clock to secure his freedom. God is on the throne and Anambra will win. Let me leave it at that.”

He commended the cordial relationship existing between the three arms of government in the state.

He also thanked his predecessor, Chief Willie Obiano, and former governors of the state for their contributions towards the development of the state.

He said his vision for the state ‘is to transform Anambra into a livable and prosperous smart megacity—to become the preferred destination to live, learn, invest, work, relax/enjoy’.

The agenda of his administration, he said, is predicated on four strong pillars: robust economic transformation for a new industrial-tech – leisure hub; a comprehensive social agenda for a human capital bank that is productive at home and exportable abroad; governance, rule of law and new value system; and a clean, green, planned and sustainable communities, markets, and cities.

On the challenges, facing his government, Soludo said, “We inherited a red treasury and pervasive insecurity, especially with criminals taking the seven local governments of the south senatorial zone.

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“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.”

He said the budget was to reflect current realities, challenges, and priorities of the new administration and Ndi Anambra, adding that, “We are undaunted by the state of the treasury. We have seriously started reforming our system of tax administration to significantly ramp up our internally generated revenue over the coming years.

“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.”

Soludo declared a state of emergency on road infrastructure and traffic management.

According to him, “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 intervene on an emergency basis on a number of federal roads in the state that have become nightmarish death traps.

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“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.”

He said the state plans to recruit medical doctors and nurses for general hospitals in the state.

He said, “We have already received over 26,000 applications in response to our advertisement to recruit and train teachers for our primary and secondary schools.

“Visitation panels will review the operations of the state university, polytechnic and college of education to provide basis for our reforms.”

On the proposed leisure city in the state, Prof Soludo said, “As a precursor to our planned Entertainment and Leisure City (envisaged to be largest in Africa), we have budgeted in the interim to construct an expansive entertainment and leisure park around the Agulu Lake.

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

He said the budget provided for a modern centralized ICT Data Centre to consolidate the state’s data and ensure business continuity.

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