From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo, on Thursday, presented the 2023 budget to the state House of Assembly. The budget, entitled Budget of Acceleration, has items totalling N260 billion.
This is coming about six months after the governor presented a revised 2022 budget to the same Assembly. The fiscal document was originally prepared and presented by his predecessor, Chief Willie Obiano.
The revised 2022 budget tagged ‘Taking Off from the Blocks’ had a total figure of N169,621,744,131. Soludo said that the revision became necessary so as to reflect the then realities, challenges, and priorities of the new administration and Ndi Anambra.
A breakdown of the 2023 budget showed that the capital expenditure would gulp N164.2 billion, accounting for 63.2 per cent while the recurrent expenditure of N95.5 billion accounts for 36.8 per cent with a deficit of N13 billion.
“Given the needs of our people and our promises, the draft 2023 budget embodies our single-minded focus and determination to continue to press the accelerator pedals in spite of the risky bumps on the way.
“We are here to present to you a draft budget of about N260 billion (compared to the revised 2022 budget of N170 billion), with the capital budget of N164.2 billion accounting for 63.2% while the recurrent expenditure of N95.5 billion accounts for 36.8%. It has a deficit of N13 billion.
“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.
“As a reflection of our people’s priority needs, about N91.8 billion or 56% of the total capital expenditure is devoted to roads, transport, power and urban regeneration that the average citizen can feel, see, or use and which have the highest developmental impact within the shortest possible time.
“Education, health, youths, and women/vulnerable groups have their capital votes more than doubled. We appropriately budgeted for counterpart funding to catalyze resource inflows from our partners.
“Expenditure on security remains barely unchanged in spite of increased challenges, although some enforcement for law and order will receive increased spending”, Soludo said.
The governor revealed that he would continue work at the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport built by his predecessor, Obiano, within the 2023 fiscal year with an emphasis on its environment.
“A major emphasis is placed on the environment (erosion control, de-silting, tree planting, beautification, urban regeneration, preparations for emergency responses, etc).
“We will soon come back to you with draft legislation to engender collective action to address the systemic threat of gully erosion. Our palm and coconut revolution continues to receive priority.
“The budget makes very bold statements towards Anambra as an industrial, entertainment/leisure hub, as well as in mainstreaming sports development and “everything technology and technology everywhere,” he said.
Soludo, who lamented the lean resources available to him, promised to maximise the little funds in the state’s coffers to the benefit of Ndi Anambra.
“Nigeria is undergoing a potentially consequential political transition; the nation is reeling under the economic challenges of unsustainable macroeconomic framework, especially increasing fiscal insolvency, high inflation, poverty and youth unemployment, exchange rate shocks, disruptions and declining oil production, etc.
“More recently, a huge national emergency occurred, triggered by unprecedented flooding which engulfed more than 50% of Anambra’s land mass, dislocating hundreds of thousands of families and destroying lives, farms, assets and livelihoods,” Soludo lamented.