By Chimezie Anaso
Mr Mark Okoye, the Anambra Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, has said that the Gov. Willie Obiano’s administration had spent N44 billion on projects inherited from his predecessor.
Okoye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Friday that Obiano, who assumed office on March 17, 2014 inherited 101 projects from the former Gov. Peter Obi’s administration out of which 51 have been completed.
He said it was not true to say that the current government in Anambra was not doing anything on capital projects.
“N44 billion has been spent on inherited projects, there are 101 of them and 51 of them have been completed.
“Another N30 billion was spent on projects initiated by this administration and are at various stages of completion. It will be unfair to say that we have not done anything on infrastructure.
“You cannot keep the over 48, 000 civil servants both at the state and local government levels hungry because you want to build infrastructure alone,” he said.
The commissioner said Obiano deserved second term because “he had done noble’’ by ensuring that the economy of Anambra remained viable and did not go into recession.
He said there had been steady increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Anambra since the inception of Obiano administration which he attributed to the economic policy direction of the governor.
Okoye said that it was not true that the government had spent over N400 billion cumulatively in the budget proposal from 2014 till date.
He said the total expenditure for the period was about N270 billion as budget implementation for any fiscal year had not exceeded 65 per cent.
“There has been steady growth in our state economy.
“In 2013, our GDP was N2.8 trillion, in 2014 when this administration came in, it was about N3.2 trillion; it rose to about N3.7 trillion in 2015 and to N3.8 trillion in 2016; it means Anambra did not go into recession.
“This is possible because of the economic policy implemented by the Willie Obiano’s administration through his developmental agenda.
“A budget is essentially a proposal which is sent to the legislature for approval and if accepted it subjected to implementation.
“Implementation is driven by revenue which is sourced internally and externally, and in these years, maximum budget implementation was 65 per cent and if you discount 35 per cent from that figure you will see that the total expenditure is between N260 billion and N270 billion.
“Half of that expenditure goes into recurrent expenditure like payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions. About 120, 000 school children between primary one and primary three are being fed daily by the government.
“We are not where we want to be yet, but we are on the right path,” he said.
Okoye said the ongoing Anambra International Trade Fair was a good testimony of the productive capacity of Anambra as it was featuring largely locally made goods.
“You can see the effect of what we are doing in the trade fair where most of the products on exhibition are locally made, they are harvested, processed and package in Anambra State and it was not like that four years ago.
“You will agree with me that if re-elected, Gov. Obiano will transform the fortunes of Anambra beyond imagination in the next four years.
“Our people will be happy because they would have seen that state economy had been fully diversified from oil,” he said. (NAN)