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FOR THE RECORDS

Budget of Economic Recovery and Consolidation

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Being an address by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano during his presentation of the 2021 Budget Estimates to Anambra State House of Assembly on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

 Protocol

Good morning everyone.

With great humility, I stand before you today to present my administration’s draft Budget estimates for the 2021 Fiscal Year.

  Mr. Speaker and Hon. Lawmakers, 2020 has been the world’s most difficult year in living memory. Like a bolt from the blues, the COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the world into a shape that we are all trying to figure out. The global economy is experiencing rising negative growth rates in the first three quarters of the 2020 fiscal year than anticipated.

This is as a result of the lockdown of the global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which experts predict will possibly lead to a recession worse than the great depression of 1939. The International Monetary Fund is currently projecting a -4.9% contraction in global GDP for the 2020 fiscal year.

  In Nigeria, we are facing weakening macroeconomic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which compelled economic lockdown and a sharp decline in oil price from $60 per barrel at the start of the year to $30 per barrel in March and currently stands at $37.02 per barrel.

With only 60% of jobs generated from the informal sector according to the International Labor Organization; the lockdown has created a rise in joblessness and insecurity leading to abrupt income losses for many workers across the country. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, Real GDP is projected to contract to 4.4 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may contract further to 7.2% depending on the gravity and duration of the pandemic and other related issues.

  However, Mr Speaker and Honourable Lawmakers, I am happy to report that while my team and I rose to our feet to adopt measures that would minimise the exposure of Ndi Anambra to the pandemic, we also maintained a strong focus on my Economic Blueprint and its Vision and Mission Statements.

Our Vision remains to ”make Anambra State the First Choice Investment Destination and Hub for Industrialization and Commercial Activities” and our Mission “to make Anambra State a socially stable, business friendly environment that would attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities”.

  Mr. Speaker and Hon. Lawmakers, at this juncture, I must not fail to commend the great role you played at the peak of the COVID-19 battle, especially your timely efforts in approving the 2021 – 2023 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper as well as the passing of the 2020 Revised Budget, in response to the pandemic. Posterity will not forget that this honorable House stood up to be counted when Ndi Anambra needed you most.

  I must also not fail to commend the good people of Anambra State who rose in large numbers to act out the creed of our great party “Onyeaghana Nwanneya” during the peak of the war against COVID-19 by contributing funds and distributing palliatives to various communities to cushion the effects of the lockdown on the people and hence, save them from hunger and starvation. Through your noble interventions, so many of our brothers and sisters were given a chance to survive the hardships imposed by the pandemic. Chukwu gozieunu. Dalunu.

  At this juncture, Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, shall we rise to observe a minute of silence in honour of our brothers and sisters who lost their lives to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen. 

A Review of the 2020 Fiscal Year:

  Mr Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, following the COVID-19 pandemic and series of lockdowns which crashed oil price and affected businesses, both federal and state governments were left with no choice than a downward review of their earlier approved 2020 budgets in line with the expected decline in revenues.

Accordingly, our initially approved 2020 Budget was N137.1Bn. However, following a revision of the revenue and expenditure assumptions for the rest of the year, the approved Revised Budget came down to N114.9Bn, indicating a reduction of 16.1%.

  Mr. Speaker and Honorable lawmakers, a look at economic trends in the past three years shows that the Nigerian economy recorded GDP growth rates of 0.8 percent in 2017, 1.89 percent in 2018 and 2.3 percent in 2019. However, all this progress will likely be wiped out by the anticipated reduction in aggregate revenues as Nigeria’s economy is expected to witness a contraction of approximately 4.42%. However, in Anambra, over this same period, we have made great efforts to sustain year-on-year growth. Our economy has grown from N4.0 trillion in 2017 to N4.2 trillion in 2018 at the rate of 5.75% and is expected to hit N4.4 trillion in the 2019 GDP report going by the preliminary estimates from the State Bureau of Statistics.

  However, we are aware that due to the challenges witnessed in the current fiscal year, it is very likely that our domestic economy will contract. From our analysis, we project a possible contraction of 2-3% due to the lockdown which imposed a closure of our markets and trading centers, suspension of domestic flights and general reduction of economic activities. As would be expected, these have had a significant impact on most sectors of our economy.

  Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, our first priority in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic was to contain it and prevent it from becoming a frightening medical emergency. Consequently, we set up a state-wide COVID-19 Response Committee with the Secretary to the State Government as its coordinator.

We swiftly moved to implement rapid measures and interventions which drastically minimised the impact of the pandemic in Anambra State. To the glory of Almighty God, Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, I am delighted to announce that our dear state has recorded only 19 COVID-19 deaths so far. And I am hopeful that sooner than later, we shall have no more COVID-19 deaths in Anambra State.

 My Team and I are working tirelessly to ensure that no more lives shall be lost to COVID-19 in this state. We have also done well in the area of offering health insurance to Ndi Anambra. At the moment, the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) covers 90,000 beneficiaries.

Not only that, in less than two years of its existence, ASHIA has become a reference point in mass health insurance in Nigeria. Its “Adoption Model” strategy which enables public spirited individuals to pay for health coverage for the poor has become a benchmark in health insurance in Nigeria.

  Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, in the agriculture sector, we launched the 2020 Farming Season and distributed free inputs to farmers including rice seeds, cassava stems, maize seeds and okro seeds. We also provided fertilizers to farmers at the subsidised rate of 20% as part of efforts to boost agricultural production.

We collaborated with NIRSAL/SMEDAN/CBN to empower farmers (capacity building) and provide access to single digit loans to improve production through anchor borrower programmes. We estimate that over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs were created through these interventions.

  In the area of MSMEs, we have successfully disbursed the N2 billion CBN/ ASBA Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) to over 30,000 beneficiaries with a recovery rate of over 87% – the highest recovery rate in this programme nationwide. We have also established two MSME hubs in the state: the Shoe and Leather Products industrial cluster, and the Tailoring and Garments cluster. Both are in Nkwelle Ezunaka.

  Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, we also established an MSME One-Stop-Shop that houses various state-of-the-art shoe making equipment behind Nkwelle Ezunaka Industrial Shoe Cluster. Once commissioned, this facility will house Bank of Industry (BOI), Development Bank of Nigeria, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), etc for the benefit of our MSMEs and business owners in the state. This is a partnership between the federal government and the Government of Anambra State and the project is expected to be inaugurated in November 2020, by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

  Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, in the transportation sector, we have digitised our traffic management & control, emergency response and rescue services and citizens’ feedback through the creation of a Transport Command and Control Centre (TCCC).

Our TCCC has the capability of monitoring, coordinating, and controlling road traffic and transport activities in the state as well as enabling prompt response to traffic gridlocks, accidents, emergencies and other road incidents on a 24 hour basis.

  I am extremely delighted to report that we have pushed our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from a monthly figure of N1.2bn to approximately N1.7bn in 2019. We were on course to achieve N2.0bn monthly before the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. To cushion the effects of the lockdown on Ndi Anambra, we launched a Tax Relief Package.

All traders and business owners were advised to claim back 10% of the total income taxes they paid during the preceding year. Also, during the year, we grew our taxpayers’ database by enforcing mandatory registration of Anambra Social Service Identification (ANSSID) as a prerequisite for any services provided by the state.

Legacy projects

  Mr Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, I am happy to report that work has reached advanced stages on the Anambra International Airport project, Umueri. It is a tribute to the character and strength of my administration that we have remained focused on this project and not even the COVID-19 pandemic could hold us down.

I have received repeated assurances from the contractors on the project site that the airport shall be operational in the coming fiscal year. Upon completion, this project will transform the socio-economic landscape of our dear state.

  We have also received similar assurances on the International Conference Center and the Awka Township Stadium projects. These are not only some of the outstanding legacy projects of my administration but also great initiatives that will change the physical and economic landscape of our dear state. All these projects shall be delivered on schedule.

  Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, our unaudited half year accounts as at June 30, 2020 are as follows:

  Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we achieved a recurrent expenditure half year budget performance rate of approximately 49.5% while our capital expenditure half year budget performance stood at approximately 45.8%. This led to an aggregate half year budget performance of 47.2%. However, with the restart of the economy and the return to normalcy witnessed in the latter periods of the current year, I expect our overall budget performance to improve to approximately 80% by the end of this fiscal year.

FY2021 Budget Envelope

1. Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, for the 2021 fiscal year, we are proposing a budget size of N143.65bn. This budget is based on realistic projections of all sources of revenue, both external and internal, taking into consideration, the state’s revenue and expenditure trend.

While recurrent expenditure is projected to gulp 39.5% of the total budget size, translating to N56.77bn, the remaining 60.5% which translates to N86.88bn is for capital expenditure. This is expected to drive the 2021 budget theme of Economic Recovery and Consolidation. This budget will help sustain our past performance and ensure that we maintain our status as a hub for business and a destination for new investments.

  Basis and Assumptions for the Draft FY 2021 Budget Estimate:

We adopted the following macro-economic assumptions for the Budget estimates:

  a) A crude oil price benchmark of US$35/bbl and an average daily production of 1.86m barrels, translating to a projected annual FAAC of N46.7bn as against the 2020 revised figure of N34.4bn.

  b) Value Added Tax revenue projection is pegged at N20.8bn annually, which is a 10% increase from the 2020 figure of N18bn.

c) Internally Generated Revenue is projected at N3.04bn monthly and N36.6bn annually for 2021, compared to the revised actual run rate of N1.16bn monthly and N13.96bn annually. We plan to achieve this by optimising our IGR windows through automation as well as strengthening our enforcement initiatives and sustaining the growth of our tax database. We will not increase taxes or levies in the coming year. 

d) Capital Receipts (including grants, other FAAC transfers, counterpart funds, aid and concessionary funding) are estimated at N20.9bn.

e) Personnel costs are estimated at N1.47bn monthly which is about N17.6bn for the year. This figure will ensure that new hires are accommodated into the civil service, including the replacement of retired teachers and staff promotions.

f) Total Overheads are estimated at N19bn monthly and N22.9bn for 2021 as against N21.3bn for the 2020 revised figure; while Social Benefits and Contributions including Pensions, Gratuities, group life insurance and loan repayments are projected at N16.2bn for the fiscal year 2021.

g) We have provided N11.0bn for debt financing. This comprises of a single digit concessionary programme lending for interventions in Healthcare, Social Investments, Agriculture, Manufacturing and Youth Entrepreneurship.

Highlights of our Sectoral Capital Plans:

Road works & infrastructure

  Roads and bridges remain a major focus area for this administration. It is therefore estimated that out of a total sum of N32bn earmarked for roads and bridges, N19.44bn will be spent on the construction of new roads as well as the rehabilitation of existing ones. We plan to complete over 50 on-going road projects in the three senatorial zones of the state, as well as construct more roads to open access to agricultural communities and boost food production in the state. The Anambra Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA) will be funded to the tune of N1.2bn for effective road rehabilitation and maintenance in the state.

  Meanwhile, N5.8bn has been earmarked for the completion of the proposed Anambra International Airport, Umueri and N500m for the completion of the International Conference Centre, Awka. Similarly, the sum of N500m has been earmarked for the development of Sports Stadia in Awka, Ekwulobia and Otuocha. 

 Agriculture and related sectors

  In agriculture, we intend to maintain our achievements over the past seven (7) years. We shall continue to support cluster farms in the three senatorial zones of the state on comparative crop advantage basis, so as to empower the youth and women under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) programmes supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

  Our collaboration with development partners (Central Bank of Nigeria, FADAMA and IFAD, RAAMP) to support increased farming activities and access to farmlands will be sustained in the coming year and it is hoped that the N2.5bn allocated to this sector will continually ensure that our programmes and policies are effectively implemented.

Education

  We shall continue our investment in education with the overall goal of achieving globally competitive education.  To realise this, we have made projections of a total capital expenditure of N5.0bn to be spread across the following areas: N3.15bn has been earmarked for Basic Education and special projects in secondary schools. N0.8bn is allocated to Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB), while N2.17bn has been allocated to infrastructure and capacity improvement in state-owned universities, colleges and polytechnics.

Environment

  We have allocated N3.4bn to environment. From this sum, N1.7bn was set aside for the establishment of waste management facilities and a fraction of the budget for the procurement of Garbage Moving Equipment as well as the establishment and upgrading of existing Parks and Gardens.

Youth Empowerment & Creative Economy

   The recent #EndSARS protests across Nigeria have compelled a rigorous review of our plans for Anambra youths. As a listening government, we have set aside the sum of N200m for payments as compensations to our people who have proven cases of gross human rights violations, torture and deaths from the activities of the defunct SARS in Anambra State.

Indeed, my administration has a great regard for Anambra youths. Over 70% of my appointees are youths. Therefore, the aggregate funding allocated to Youth Entrepreneurship & Empowerment Programmes across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state is N5.4bn. We have also allocated over N1.1bn to empower youths through vocational, agricultural and artisan training programmes as well as N120m for the establishment of creative centres, Innovation Hubs and ICT related projects.

Health

We believe in the saying that “a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.” Therefore, we have set aside the sum of N6.8bn for the sector to continue the implementation of strategic initiatives that will help fill identified gaps in our health system which the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and to further improve healthcare delivery in the state.

Small & Medium Enterprises Development

  Out of the N2bn Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme facility, N1bn will be spent to fund micro entrepreneurs through cooperatives that cut across the three senatorial districts. Disbursement will be 60% to women and 40% to men. The balance of N1 billion will be disbursed and managed at single digit interest rate to Small and Medium Enterprises. We are also finalising a COVID-19 response program with the World Bank which will provide an additional $5 million to support capacity building programmes and start-up funding for young entrepreneurs.

  Furthermore, we expect that the World Bank Nigeria’s N1.5bn COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) palliative will support MSMEs across all sectors in the State.

Water Resources and Public Utilities

  Ndi Anambra can attest to the improvement in security aided by the “Light-Up Anambra Programme” and other rural and urban electrification schemes. As a result, we have earmarked an additional budget of N3.77bn to sustain the programme as well as other water and sanitation programs across the state.

  Community Social Development Program

The “N20 Million Community-Choose-Your-Project” initiative has continued to produce impressive results across the 181 communities in the State. Therefore, we have allocated N1.1bn to communities that have completed the second phase of the Project to enable them commence the third phase. It’s also heartwarming to report that the Community Social Development Agency (CSDA) with the support of the World Bank has started delivering critical amenities to poor and vulnerable communities.

Disability and Inclusion Progammes

  We have transformed Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) to subject of rights and no longer objects of charity. It is our desire is to help Persons Living with Disabilities in manner that preserves their self-respect by empowering them to do for themselves those things people do for them.

  Mr. Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, this budget seeks to entrench a new watershed in the development aspirations of Anambra State. We hope therefore, that it will be given a speedy consideration and passage to ensure a sustained and steady advancement of our dear state.

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