By Okechukwu Onuegbu
The factional speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Ikem Uzoezie, and the Minority leader, Onyebuchi Offor, were nowhere to be found in the Assembly complex on Wednesday, as the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N157, 170, 671, 809 to the legislature.
Uzoezie, it would be recalled, was elected to replace Hon. Rita Maduagwu, who was reportedly impeached on 13th November, by 22 House of Assembly members led by the factional speaker, Offor and others. This was followed by crises that led to the sealing of the Assembly complex till last week and court actions.
But Governor Obiano presented the bill entitled, “Budget for sustained economic growth and youth empowerment,” before 28 lawmakers out of 30, including the allegedly impeached speaker, Hon. Rita Maduagwu, who incidentally, presided over the session for the second time since the impeachment imbroglio.
The 2019 Appropriation Bill is below the 2018 appropriation of N66.9bn presented by the governor which the Assembly later increased to N170.9 billion during passage.
According to Obiano, 41.3 percent was earmarked as recurrent expenditures, 58.7 percent capital expenditure, and demonstrate his administration’s determination to continue delivering good governance and purposeful leadership.
He maintained that the budget was created in line with the policy thrusts of resource planning and data optimization; increased internally generated revenue, economic diversification and empowerment; strategic collaborations; public private partnerships.
“We are proposing a budget size of N157.1bn with a spending ratio of N65.33bn for Recurrent Expenditure and N91.8bn on Capital expenditure to drive our policy thrusts of sustaining economic growth and youth empowerment. This budget seeks to sustain our previous performance and ensure that Anambra State continues to maintain its status as a hub for business and a destination for new investments,” added, Obiano.
The budget evolved under a crude oil benchmark of USD 60/ bbl and N1.9m barrels average against federal government production benchmark of N2.3m barrels per day, translating to a projected annual FAAC of N40.0bn as against the 2018 figure of N29.7bn; N3.0bn Internally Generated Revenue.
Others are N26bn estimated reimbursement from federal government for works done on federal roads in the state; personnel cost of N1.66bn monthly; total overheads cost of N2.08bn monthly; and Social benefits and contributions including pensions, gratuities and group life insurance of N1.25bn monthly.
According to the budget, intervention on roads and bridges is estimated at N22.4bn of which the construction of new roads stood at N20.9bn, N1.5bn for roads construction; capital expenditure of N1.9bn for education; N1.4bn for empowerment of 10, 000 youths through vocational, agriculture and artisan training programmes and an additional N100 million for film village to facilitate job creation in the sector.
Others are N9bn for health with additional N2bn for Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme full implementation, over 1bn for the construction and equipping the Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, N2bn for rehabilitation and re-equipment of general hospitals; N500m for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Funding programme.
Also, N4.8bn for water resources and public utilities with special attention to Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi water schemes; Community Social Development Programme to 181 communities targeted at N2.8bn and setting up of Community Social Development Agency; and development of 12, 000 hectares of land across three senatorial zones under the Community Agriculture Land Development Project.
The chairman Finance and Appropriation Committee of the House, Mr. Obinna Emenaka, charged ministries, departments and agencies to be ready for budget bilateral talks (defence) which, according to him, starts from tomorrow, December 6, 2018 in line with a timetable mapped out for it.
Earlier, the embattled speaker, Rita Maduagwu, assured the executive of speedy passage of the budget possibly before the end of 2018. “A cursory look at this year’s budget implementation showed that sufficient attention was given to both human and infrastructural developments across the state by your government,” said, Maduagwu, who claimed that both arms of government enjoy cordial relationship which culminated into the house passing 70 bills and over 100 people-oriented resolutions.