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Analysts make shocking revelations, raise alarm over Soludo’s ‘2023 budget of acceleration’

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Critical analysts have made some baffling revelations on the acclaimed “budget of acceleration” presented by Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo to the Anambra State House of Assembly on Thursday, November 10, 2022.

In the opener, it could be recalled that Governor Soludo had said:

“Of course, our House of Assembly is appropriately prioritized. Critical productive partnerships will be important to execute the 2023 budget…”

A critic noted that Soludo in his budget, set aside N1.2 billion to buy cars for 30 members of the House of Assembly, but budgeted a paltry N900 million for their constituency projects.

A breakdown shows that each lawmaker will get N30 million to spend on their constituency projects, but will get N40 million to spend on a luxury car.

According to the analyst, “the car is of more importance than the constituents in a state where a professor in economics presides over”..

Another analyst asked: “Did you know that the office of the Executive Governor of Anambra state budgeted N27.7 million for local trainings (see Pg. 174 of the draft budget) but plans to spend N720 million (Pg. 172) travelling/transporting themselves to such local trainings?

“This is really a budget of acceleration!”

Another analyst, while reacting to Soludo’s “our House of Assembly is appropriately prioritized” and “critical productive partnerships… to execute the 2023 budge” remarks, observed:

“That was what the Executive Governor of Anambra state, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, told the 30 members of the Anambra State House of Assembly in paragraph 15 of his address during the presentation of the 2023 budget estimates.

“The specific details of that statement are to be found on page 514 of the draft budget.

“The state government budgeted a whopping N1.2 billion for the purchase of vehicles for members of the State House of Assembly while allocating a mere N900 million for constituency projects.

“Per the draft budget, the “Solution” government is planning to spend, on average, N40 million in car purchases for each lawmaker while budgeting a paltry N30 million each for their constituency projects.

“Little wonder they approved a N100 billion loan request without due diligence and hurriedly passed two readings of the budget the same day even without the benefit of officially opening a page of the document.

“The conclusion is inescapable; the Soludo administration has placed the interests of 30 lawmakers above the interests of the 6.2 million constituents they supposedly serve.”

News Band analyst, Mr. Chima Christian noted the following irregularities in the 2023 budget as follows:

“On roads for instance, you will see on page 54 of the budget that N70 billion was budgeted for roads; while there is N1.2 billion for road design.

“But what you see is that nobody knows where these roads are. This is not the standard budget practice. The standard budget practice is if you are going to dualise Nnewi-Nnobi Road, you state “Dualisation of Nnewi-Nnobi Road, the road is so-so-and-so kilometers and its going to cost so-so-and-so billion Naira.

“Then you say “Intervention of Federal Government Roads by the State Government from Umunya to Amawbia. You state “the road is so-so-and-so kilometers and you break down the budget and that way it will be easier for the people to monitor.

“But now that you lumped everything together, it doesn’t make sense. Same goes with all other expenditures.

“Instead of saying “We are going to buy 22 units of 2022 Model Prado Jeeps at so-so-and-so amount”, the government merely said “We are going to buy cars of for so-so-and-so million” without adequate breakdown.

“And you see this theme in all the capital expenditure, in none of them did he indicate what he will do exactly with the stated sums. In fact, these 650 pages of the appropriation bill is just a waste of paper because all you have a bogus document that has very little on details.

The author, Chima Christian
News Band analyst, Mr. Chima Christian

“Then the government is spending a total of N2.8 billion on car purchases. Under the governors’ office you find this in page 508 with N500 million there; page 510 you have N50 million there for the office of the Deputy Governor; Office of the Secretary to the State Government, there is the first N573 million on page 511; you have purchase of vehicles for Permanent Secretaries for N248 million also on page 511; you have procurement of utility vehicles for MDAs for N200 million, then if you add N1.2 billion for Anambra State House of Assembly, another N115 million for legislative service commission still under the House of Assembly, that’s page 515, then you have office of the head of service, N20 million, page 518, that gives N2,8 billion for “total car components.

“N2.8 billion on cars for government that is borrowing money is ridiculous!

Then for retaining the “Community Choose Your” Project” initiative on page 610, N2 billion. If he did what Obiano did, which he touted as “State Government Project”, meanwhile they were taking Local Government funds to do State Government projects… if you are going to give communities N2 billion per year, where are you going to fund the projects from?

“All they do is collect Local Government funds and give N20 million each to communities to do what they call “Choose Your Community Project” initiative which amounts to one month of local government funds.

“So if you are going to use one month allocation, what happens to the outstanding 11 months allocation?

“Further, Soludo has abandoned his “Replace of Diesel Street Lights with Solar-powered Street Lights” projects according to page 611 of the budget.”

“Next is purchase of office equipment for government house for N100 million, page 506. Development of *UNSPECIFIED* number of state and MDAs website for N50 million, page 613.

“Then total capital expenditure for Anambra State Primary Health Care Agency for N485 million, page 600.

“Also, Soludo is reportedly building a liaison office in Abuja for about N500 million.

“In the meantime, renovation of Abuja lodge, N100 million, page 512.

“Then general investment if stocks and equities of companies, page 531, *ZERO NAIRA!* Unlike Peter Obi, Soludo is not saving or investing a dime!! But he is spending N100 million Naira for anniversaries celebration, page 513!!! Meanwhile, we don’t know which anniversary; is it Soludo’s one year in office or 31st anniversary of creation of Anambra State? We don’t know. All we know is that Soludo will spend N100 million Naira for anniversaries celebration in a state that is borrowing.

“Meanwhile, he is not putting enough money on infrastructure.

“Now talk about loans… the total loan component of the budget. The interesting thing is that the state government will be spending N24.2 billion on debt servicing this year. You can find this in page X3, page 3 and 5 of the project.

“About 7 billion will be deducted from FAAC, which means that before your FAAC comes, they deduct it directly from source.

“So now that our total loan components, from Obiano’s N72 billion to Soludo’s N90 billion, it amounts to N162 billion. Invariably, we are spending N24.2 billion in debt servicing. Then imagine what will happen if Soludo is allowed to borrow the much he wants to borrow.

“It will turn to be the situation we had at some point in Ekiti wherein a particular governor borrowed the future of Ekiti. Every month, the money they receive from FAAC after deductions are barely enough to governance!

“There are a lot more sordid infractions; these are just the few I picked on my notes.”

An observer from Imo State, after assessing Soludo’s performance and comparing it with his Imo State counterpart, Senator Hope Uzodinma said:

“We are lamenting that we have Uzodinma and begging God to bless us with someone like one of past Anambra governors like Peter Obi, but he turned around and cursed Anambra with something worse than Uzodinma!” Read more.

 

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