Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State has presented a ₦410 billion budget to the State House of Assembly for the 2024 fiscal year.
Presenting the 2024 Appropriation Bill to the lawmakers on Tuesday, Gov. Soludo described it as a “modest” budget. He stated that there was only a 57.8 percent increase compared to the ₦258bn for the 2023 fiscal year.
- Also read;
- Top jobs for German work visa
- UPDATED: Nigerian Lady falls to death with Infant Child in Bahrain
He highlighted that 23.46 percent, ₦96.2bn of the budget is recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure is put at ₦313.9 billion(76.54 percent) and the budget deficit is estimated at ₦120.8 billion.
The governor, who christened the budget, ‘Changing gears: The transformation agenda begins’, said it was aimed at beginning the transformation agenda and implementing a new masterplan to build a liveable and prosperous state.
He said, “With this budget, we are making an announcement that Anambra is changing gear and that the promised transformation agenda now begins. The transformation agenda is one that intentionally executes a new master plan of the state designed to turn Anambra into a livable and prosperous smart megacity.
“We are determined to change Anambra’s narrative from its current status as a ‘departure lounge’ to a ‘destination of choice’ preferred destination to live, work, invest, learn and relax and enjoy!
“Evidently, Nigeria’s macroeconomic environment remains challenging due largely to the missteps of the past. Sub-national governments are obviously constrained by the larger macro environment.
“However, we are determined to maximise the limited headroom available to create value for Ndi Anambra.
“Consequently, and in spite of the humongous need, we present a modest budget of N410,132,225,272 for fiscal year, 2024, compared to N258,984,875,905 for 2023 (about 57.8% increase).”
The budget indicated that some key sectors had significant increases compared to the 2023 Budget. Administrative sector got a 50.85 percent increase, while the economic sector got a 103.43 percent increase.
The judiciary sector got a 72.9 percent, the social sector got 60.24 percent, the education sector had 140.88 percent, and the health 169.55 per cent
The infrastructure investment had 119.84 percent increase while overhead costs had 34.1 percent increase, among others.
The governor pointed out that the state’s Internally Generated Revenue remains a fundamental challenge, adding if every resident pays five to 10 percent of their annual income as tax to the state, “the Anambra of our dream will be fast-tracked.
“In the 2023 budget, we expected a monthly revenue of N4 billion. So far, we are averaging N2 billion, and we are still projecting N4.2 billion per month in 2024. This is a wake-up call to all residents of Anambra, and all Ndi Anambra wherever they may live.
“We can’t build the envisioned livable and prosperous homeland with our saliva. With the abundant resources that God has blessed Ndi Anambra with, there is literally nothing that we collectively set our minds to that we cannot achieve for our homeland.
“We have the plan and the organisation to execute. But we need resources. If each of us pays just five to 10 percent of our annual income as tax to the State, the Anambra of our dream will be fast-tracked.
“Many people keep asking how we managed to fund the huge infrastructure projects and other programmes/projects without borrowing over the past 20 months given the state of the treasury when we assumed office.
“The answer is simple: ‘doing more with less’! It has involved extreme austerity and cutting the cost of governance to bare bones. As can be seen from the proposed 2024 budget, recurrent expenditure is only 23 percent while capital expenditure is 77 percent.
“This makes a bold statement. Yes, we have been in office for 20 months but we have not taken any salary and have not bought any vehicle for the First Lady of Anambra. Before we assumed office, it cost about N137 million to clean public offices per month, but it currently costs N11 million to do the same job, with a monthly savings of N126 million per month. That’s how we do it here.
“With the state of decay, even if we spend the entire year’s budget on roads in one local government, it would still be a scratch. We are breaking the 32-year-old jinx and Anambra will soon have a proper and befitting government house and governor’s lodge at Awka.”
The Speaker of the House, Mr Somtochukwu Udeze while receiving the budget, thanked the governor and assured him that the draft budget would receive expeditious consideration.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur