Anambra’s 2023 Budget and Soludo’s Promise to the People

David-ChyddyEleke reviews 2023 budget proposal of Anambra State presented recently to the State House of Assembly by Governor Charles Soludo and tries to find a connection between it and the development he promised the people during his campaigns.

Last Thursday, the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, presented a budget estimate of N258.9 billion for the year 2023 to the state house of assembly.

The budget tagged; Budget of Acceleration budget was made up of a capital budget of N164.2 billion, accounting for 63.2 percent of the budget and a recurrent expenditure of N95.5 billion, accounting for 36.8 percent of the budget.

Soludo, a former Central Bank governor had made previous attempts at becoming the governor of AnambraState which failed. In 2010, Soludo ran on a manifesto tagged; making Anambra Africa’s Dubai/Taiwan.

In the manifesto, Soludo had given practical steps of how Anambra could be developed and industrialized, but his opponents derided him, while describing the proposal as utopian.

In 2013, he had attempted again, but was disqualified at the party level by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

In 2017, when many had thought he would contest again, Soludo cleverly supported the re-election of Chief Willie Obiano, insisting that the then governor was doing well and didn’t need to be changed.

In a paper he had delivered then, with the caption; “If it’s not broken, why mend it”, Soludo argued that you cannot change a winning team. Many suspected that there may have been an alliance between Soludo and Obiano to hand power to him. True to this, Obiano ensured against all odds, that he handed Soludo.

As governor of Anambra State today, Soludo is saddled with the task of walking his talk by developing and industrializing Anambra State as he promised. Part of the tool to achieve this will be a good budget for the state, and Soludo does not seem unmindful of these, especially as he presented his first ever budget as a governor.

Soludo had told the lawmakers that the 2023 budget has a deficit of N13 billion, with N91.8 billion or 56 percent of the total being capital expenditure, which is dedicated to roads, transport, power and urban regeneration.

Previously, Soludo had before his 100 days in office approached the state house of assembly for a loan to help him kick start his projects for Anambra. He had earlier hinted that the coffers of the government was empty, and his government needed to hit the ground running. The state lawmakers had in view of this approved a N100billion loan for the governor.

So far, Soludo seemed to be truly focused about where he is taking the state to, as he has within eight months in office battled insecurity, and also flagged off major roads in the state to connect communities. The 2023 budget when eventually passed will help the governor to implement fully his policies as he has all along been running on the budget of his predecessor.

The State Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning, MsChiamakaNnake, at a press conference later analysed the recently presented budget urging Anambra people to watch out for something great as the 2023 budget which shall focus on key deliverable projects.

Nnake said: “The 2023 proposed budget is at a sum of N258,984,875,905 approximately at N259 billion. This is compared to the revised 2022 budget of N169.6 billion. The capital expenditure increased by 51.1per cent from N108.2 billion in the 2022 revised budget to N163.5 billion. While the recurrent expenditure increased by 55.6per cent from N61.4 billion to N95.5 billion in the 2023 proposed estimate.

“Every budget has its capital and recurrent. The capital expenditure accounts for 63.1% of the budget size while the recurrent accounts for 36.9 per cent of the budget size. Key infrastructural projects account for 55.4 per cent of the capital expenditure and 35 per cent of the entire budget size. The composition of recurrent budget includes; salaries (21.6 per cent) of the recurrent expenditure, social benefits (15.2 per cent), overhead (30.5 per cent), loan repayment (17.5per cent) among others.

“Sectorial allocation covers four broad sectors which includes the administrative sector, economic sector, law & justice sector, social sector. The capital expenditure within the administrative sector accounts for 6.8 per cent of the capital budget. The economic sector accounts for 72.5 per cent. Law and justice sector accounts for 2.1 per cent while the social sector accounts for 15.2 per cent of the capital budget size.”

The commissioner continued that the 2023 budget will highlight key deliverable projects that Anambra people will be able to feel, touch and experience. She went ahead to state the allocation for various sectors and the plans to revamp them.

Her words: “The Leisure park project that will be delivered by the Ministry of Culture, Entertainment and Industry has a budget of N7.5 billion. Under the Ministry of Education, the state Government is revamping the educational system with a budget of N8.4 billion, a mass improvement of N2.2 billion estimated in budget appropriated in 2022.

“The health system has a budget size of N6.2 billion. The site design, preparation of industrial city and Export Processing Zone under the Ministry of Works has a budget of N2 billion. Legal outreach and mass mobilization of ndiAnambra delivered by Ministry of Information has a budget of N200 million. Completion of ongoing road projects and construction of new ones which will be delivered by the Ministry of Works is budgeted at N70 billion.

“Urban regeneration for Anambra which shall come up with iconic designs, road mapping and giving Anambra a facelift is budgeted at N2.5 billion under the Ministry of Works. For Ministry of Youths, two key projects shall be delivered; development of Anambra innovation and business district is budgeted at N1 billion while Youth innovation and empowerment program is budgeted at N2.5 billion. Women Affairs shall have a solution based cooperative for economic empowerment budgeted at N1.5 billion.

“For Housing projects; Government House, Government Lodge and Commissioners Quarters budgeted at N4.5 billion. Sports development is budgeted at N1.5 billion. In improving the transport infrastructure, the State Government shall revamp water transport with boats and buses for mass transit at a budget of N2.9 billion. In sustaining security, security gadgets and armored personnel carrier shall be purchased at a budget of N500 Million.

“Special intervention projects targeted at oil producing communities; Anambra is an oil producing state and based on 5 per cent derivation for 2023 budget is at N500 Million. Oil palm and coconut seedlings have a budget of N1.5 billion. Looking towards a 24/7 power supply in the state, N5 billion is budgeted for the power project in 2023. Revamping urban water scheme gulps N2 billion in estimate. Desilting of drainages is budgeted at N1 billion.

“Community Choose Your Project is budgeted at N2 billion. Grants to Community Governance is budgeted at N1.2 billion. Building and deploying a state owned data center will take a budget of N720 Million. Lastly, counterpart fund sustained for 2023 will have a budget of N3 billion. These sums up for N123 billion, 78 per cent of the capital budget,” Nnake said.

The budget, according to her, is expected to be funded by a number of ways, including an approved loan of N100 billion expected to be granted to Anambra State Government before the end of this year.

Other ways of funding the budget include; Statutory Allocation from Federal Government is N101 billion, IGR is N48 billion, Capital Receipts is N6.4 billion, which will bring the total revenue to N155.9 billion.

According to EkeneEze, an analyst who spoke to THISDAY commended the governor on the budget presentation, while also saying: “It is through this job that we will know how financially disciplined Soludo is. If he adheres to the proposed budget strictly he may be able to achieve his dream.

“But I know he is a politician, and the tendency of dipping hands into the state till to fund some things that were not budgeted for, especially in this election year may cause him to fail. We pray that he succeeds, because if Anambra is developed, we will all enjoy it”.

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