IN MANY societies, especially the under-developed, the bane of underdevelopment is usually poor human resource capacity, poor policy initiative and inadequate infrastructure to support and facilitate growth and development.
Inadequate infrastructure is also a result of poor policy formulation, faulty implementation of programmes as well as poor execution of projects.
At the mention of infrastructure development, the human mind readily goes to provision of access and motorable roads, regular electricity supply; provision of portable water.
Indeed, infrastructure means the basic facilities: services and installations needed for the effective and efficient functioning of a community, state or country. Consequently, the need for basic infrastructure cuts across all areas of human endeavour.
In government, budget is a statement or itemised summary of intended expenditures, usually coupled with expected revenue. The budget is a social contract between the government and the people. The budget, also spells out government’s proposed recurrent and capital expenditures for a given period, usually a year.
The performance and success of a budget depends on the realisation of the projected revenue targets and their efficient and effective implementation.
In Anambra State before the advent of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was marred by chaos, armed robbery, kidnapping, threat to life and property, as well as looting of public funds.
The administration of 1999-2003 was handcuffed, emasculated and strangulated to make way for celebrated looting of the treasury, through the instrumentality of `Irrevocable Payment Standing Order’.
This paved the way for government activities to be hijacked, and the state legislature attacked on the orders of “Political Godfathers”. Salaries could not be paid. Ecological funds were not left out by the ravaging political godfathers.
Consequently, the 1999 – 2003 administration could not achieve any infrastructure development. The administration from 2003 — 2006, though short- lived, was a blessing in disguise.
Through the Dr Chris Ngige administration, Ndi Anambra were able to unmask the ravaging godfathers, who looted the state’s treasury and consequently hindered infrastructure development.
Although the governor (Ngige) was abducted, nonetheless, he was able to construct 191 .54 Kilometers of road networks with drains, along with other minimal achievements before its exit in 2006.
The advent of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Anambra State in 2006 under the leadership of Gov. Peter Obi signalled liberation of Anambra State from treasury looters and lifted the state from political and economic doldrums; Obi’s administration heralded a new dawn in Anambra.
Under the renaissance, Gov. Obi set goals, targets and key performance indicators. The administration made investments in security and handed over administration of schools to missions; funded the schools and mission hospitals, constructed and renovated some primary and secondary schools.
He converted the General Hospital at Amaku into Anambra State University Teaching Hospital. He built two gigantic secretariat buildings to accommodate workers.
The administration also provided buses, computers and generating sets as well as laptops to teachers in many secondary schools in the state.
Similarly, dilapidated general hospitals and primary health centres were renovated and efforts were made to staff them. Under the administration, a total of 824.635 kilometres of roads network with drains were asphalted, and in process, laying a foundation for more accomplishments.
However, the coming of Dr Willie Obiano in 2014 consolidated on the gains and successes of his predecessor. He adopted policy of 4Cs that implies, continue all projects started by his predecessor — complete all such projects; to commence new projects and finally to commission all completed projects.
The security architecture and infrastructure ordained by Obiano’s administration is beyond comparison and the best in Nigeria to date.
All security agencies in the state have their capacities rebuilt in terms of training, logistics, arms and ammunition. Even the Anambra Vigilance Service (AVS) was not left behind. All the communities were encouraged to form their own vigilance service, after which they were certified, trained and provided with logistics in collaboration with Nigeria Police Force.
The construction of three flyover bridges on the Onitsha — Enugu Expressway automatically has given Awka, the capital city, an improved and more aesthetic look; the three flyovers, have also eased traffic flow on the expressway.
To date and counting, Gov. Obiano has constructed and asphalted 513 Kilometers of roads with drains across the three senatorial zones.
Similarly, the Anambra Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA) has undertaken the rehabilitation and patching of all artery roads to ease movement of Ndi Anambra coming back home for Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Chief Willie Obiano in furtherance of his development works presented a budget of N137 billion for the fiscal year 2020. Accordingly, N58.69 billion or 43 per cent was budgeted as recruitment expenditure while N78.3 billion or 57 per cent was proposed as capital expenditure. The budget is christened “Accelerated Infrastructure Development and Youth Entrepreneurship”.
About N22.2 billion has been earmarked for road works and infrastructure in fiscal year 2020. Out of this provision N15.l5billion is proposed for roads and bridge constructions and rehabilitation of existing ones.
The proposed expenditure for Anambra Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA) is N1.lbillion while the proposed expenditure under Anambra International Airport at Umueri is N6.O billion.
The need to expedite action in the construction of Anambra International Airport cannot be overemphasised. The bitter lesson arising from the lingering closure of Akanu lbiam Airport, Enugu, is better told than experienced. There is enormous risk boarding or landing at Owerri Airport. Even though, there is no problem with the airport itself but with the roads to and fro the facility. The Asaba Airport with limited flight schedule is further encumbered with the traffic situation at Upper Iweka and the Niger Bridge. The governor has proposed a period of 20 months to complete and deliver Anambra International Airport.
The Airport on completion will be a very important legacy of the Obiano administration. It will boost the economic life of Anambra State. Consequently, there is therefore the need for all Ndi Anambra, at home or in the Diaspora, communities, corporate organisations, captains of industry to render every support to Obiano administration to make the dream of Anambra International Airport a reality. Nkeabunkeanyi!
The heavy investment and transformation in Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), Radio and Television has not only improved dissemination of government policies, programmes projects and achievements but have also brought the people nearer to government and increased confidence reposed in the government through a feedback process.
Similarly, the Anambra Newspapers Printing Company (ANPC), printers and publishers of National Light Newspapers have been rehabilitated with increased funding under the administration.
The need to diversify the productive base of the economy to create more jobs for the teeming youths has led the administration to pay greater attention and investment in agriculture. The state government has created enabling environment for thriving public private partnership with credible firms and the result is an increase in the production of rice, poultry products, cassava and the exportation of vegetable overseas.
The projected capital expenditure for Agriculture Mechanisation Processing and Export in the 2020 Budget is N2.632 billion out of which N1.O billion is projected for Community Agriculture Land Development (CALD) Programme. Similarly, Fishery and Aquaculture Development Programme is expected to gulp N353.8 m; Rice Project N8O miIIion; Post Harvest technology N160 million; Purchase of Tractors N200 miIIion; Procurement of Equipment N200 million; Agric Value Chain Initiative N9O miIIion; Empowerment Initiatives and Programmes Nl5O million etc.
The Projected Capital Outlay for Education (Sector Allocation) is Nl8.3 billion out of which Special Projects in Secondary Schools will gulp N1.44billion, Education Projects in ASUBEB N1.4 billion while Infrastructure and Capacity Development in Territory Education is projected at N2.4billion.
The World Bank Assisted State Education Programme and Intervention Project (SERIP) has Nl.O billion earmarked.
The Section Allocation to Environment is N2.9 billion: Waste Management Facilities has N1.2 billion allocated to it. It should be noted that Obiano had in 2019 procured Waste collection and disposal vehicles which were distributed to the three senatorial zones to facilitate prompt evacuation of wastes from our streets and market places.
The hallmark of Obiano’s ingenuity in governance is the introduction of the “N20m Community Choose Your Project Initiative’. The programme allows communities to choose their socio-economic development project.
Communities are also instructed to select contractors from their communities. The N20 million grant is then systematically released until the project is complete. The choice of having contractors and labourers from the community is to ensure that the money circulates within the community.
The 2020 Budget of Anambra State proposed N2.6 billion for the community choose your project initiative.
Unemployment remains a hydra headed problem for all tiers of government – federal, state and local government. In Anambra State, the Obiano administration apart from the recruitment of staff into the public service, the government is creating enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs and grow. About N1.1 billion is earmarked for micro, small and medium scale enterprises through the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA).
Under the Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Obiano intends to increase job opportunities; consequently N25O million is budgeted for Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme, vocational, agricultural and artisanal trainings, N265 miIIion for the establishment of creative (Innovation hubs) and IT related project.
Also the sum of N25O million is budgeted for Establishment of Film Villages.
The construction of a modern International Conference Centre (ICC) at Awka adds another feather on the cap of Obiano. Not less than N500 million is earmarked for the centre in 2020.
The allocation to health for fiscal year 2020 is N6.98 billion. The budget for Anambra State Health Insurance Agency is N495 miIIion. Also, N8l6 million is earmarked for further constructions and re-equipping of Anambra State University Teaching Hospital while Nl.6 billion will be used to construct additional health facilities in the three senatorial zones.
It should be noted that the Obiano Administration has rehabilitated more than 200 health facilities since inception. In 2019, Obiano inaugurated an oxygen plant located in the teaching hospital, Amaku, Awka. Under Water Resources and Public utilities, Light-Up Anambra Programme and other urban electrification schemes has N3.75 billion. New Onitsha Greater Water Scheme has been allocated N50 million. While Awka, Nnewi and other rural water schemes as well as increased sanitary condition have a budget of N4.6 billion.
Electricity generation and supply is an imperative for economic growth and development. Obiano’s administration is not oblivious of this fact. Electricity is synonymous to civilisation. Obiano’s administration achievements in the power sector include the completion of the installation of streetlights in over 1600 kilometers of roads across the state. Extension of 33kv transmission line with 10 mega watts of electricity from Agu Awka injection substation to Anambra North Senatorial Zone; extension of 33kv transmission line from Oji River Injection Substation in Enugu State to Orumba North and Orumba South LGAs in Anambra benefitting 31 communities in the two LGAs as well as Isuochi and Umunnochi communities in Abia State.
Similarly, the state created Nnewi feeder Il from Awada injection substation to Nnewi benefitting 21 communities under Nnewi feeder.
The Obiano administration has installed about 300 transformer substations and supplied/distributed 400 transformers across the three senatorial zones of the state.
The state government has also done the extension of 33kv transmission line from Otuocha junction through Ezi Agulu Otu-Enugwu Otu to Mkpunando in Anambra East LGA. Also, the state has maintained High Tension (HT) line from Umunze area to Nzam community in Anambra West LGA.
For ease of traffic flow, the state government supplied and installed 26 traffic lights at 26 strategic places in the state. For fiscal year 2020, the Obiano administration intends to expend N3.75 billion to further light up Anambra State and other urban electrification scheme.
Youth Entrepreneurship and Development Programme is an important feature of Obiano’s administration. It is an annual ritual in the budget. In 2017, 380 youths were trained in two batches. These youths were trained in: (i) Pop, Tiling and Inter-locking; (ii).Confectionary and event planning; (iii). Solar installations ; (iv). Cosmetology: (v). Shoe making; (vi). Fishery ; (vii). Make-up and hair maintenance and (viii).Plant repair.
In 2018, `one youth one skill’ was introduced. 500 youths were trained in two batches. The first batch comprised 51 youths. They received training on solar installation; tiling and inter-locking; catering and event planning as well as software management and cosmetology. All the participants were empowered with starter packs.
The second batch was trained on make-up and auto sales; paint production; plant repairs and cosmetology, software management and web design. Under the 2020 Budget, the governor has approved the training of 5000 youths on smart jobs, various entrepreneurial skills.
Also Nl.1 billion has been budgeted for micro, small, and medium entrepreneur funding programme through Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA). The essence of these investments in entrepreneurship development is to create jobs, reduce youth unemployment and restiveness.
As earlier stated, the success of a budget depends on the realisation of projected revenues, prudent management of resources and meticulous implementation of the programmes and projects outlined consequently, I wish to remind in particular the Managing Director of Anambra Internal Revenue Service (AIRS), the Commissioner, Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Market and Wealth Creation as well as the Commissioner for Transport that they have very herculean tasks of generating revenues for the successful implementation of the 2020 Budget. Other ministries, departments and agencies are no less concerned. There is need to plug all the loopholes in revenue generation.
Onitsha town comprising Onitsha North and South Local Government Areas are expected to generate not less than N4billion every month. While Anambra State as a whole is expected to realise an average of N7billion every month.
Dedicated and selfless revenue generation efforts will ensure the completion of Anambra International Airport and the International Conference Centre, which are two major projects that upon completion, remains important legacies of the Obiano’s Administration.
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