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Reactions trail Soludo’s ‘revised’ budget

Governor Charles Soludo presents the N170 billion revised 2022 budget to the state House of Assembly.

Reactions have trailed the presentation of the 2022 revised draft budget estimate by Governor Chukwuma Soludo to the state House of Assembly.

Some of the respondents who spoke with our House of Assembly Correspondent, Uche Ndeke described the budget as a doable estimate that must be backed up with proper implementation.

Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State, Thursday, presented N170 billion revised 2022 budget to the state House of Assembly.

The budget has been raised from the initial N141.9 billion approved by Governor Willie Obiano’s administration.

The budget tagged, “Taking Off from the Blocks” is to reflect the current realities, challenges and priorities of the new administration as well as residents’ expectations.

According to the Governor, in the months and years ahead, hard choices will be made while fiscal prudence will become a lifestyle as his administration cannot afford to waste resources.

“Managing our over N120 billion debt, especially the contractor debt and pension liabilities in the context of the paltry Federation Account receipts and burgeoning needs of our people will task our dexterity and demand hard choices and sacrifice.

We just received the preliminary report of the external consultants’ review of our 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.”

Reacting to the budget estimate, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation and member representing Nnewi North Constituency, Mr Smart Okoye commended the Governor for dwelling on Security, Youth Development, and Road infrastructure which are very strategic and important to the rural dwellers.

The Chairman, House Committee on Economic planning, SDG and Donor Agencies and Member representing Anaocha Constituency One, Mr Ebere Ejiofor expressed the hope that the new administration will dwell more on the implementation of the budget.

A Civil Society Activist, Prince Chris Azor said the budget captured major priority areas which will no doubt translate into developmental strides in the state.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Anambra State Fisheries and Aquaculture Business Development Agency, Mr Emeka Iloghalu commended the Governor for coming prepared while believing that the youths will take advantage of the opportunities in the fishery sector aimed at creating jobs and providing to food security.

” We can see that Mr Governor came in very active because. he was prepared for the job and he has started working. We have to pray for him to succeed in all these good and practicable plans for the state. The youths, in the area of aquaculture, we already have a system working that will support what the governor has just presented “

The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Miss Chiamaka Nnagidi gave an assurance that the new administration in the state will not only provide infrastructural development but would ensure that projects like roads are properly executed to stand the test of time.

“if you go through the governor’s presentation, there are specific things he mentioned like roads, so those things are things you can call us out on, it’s not shrouded in a lot of details, some amounts have been allocated to such specific projects.”

Earlier, the Speaker of the House, Mr Uche Okafor promised that the revised budget all receive expeditious consideration even as he urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies to be ready for Budget defence which will commence soon.

The House however adjourned sitting to the 7th of June after the budget passed through its first reading.

Reporting by Uche Ndeke, Editing by Abdullahi Lamino