… Ministry Decries Non Release of Budgeted Funds
By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Anambra State Government says it has spent N1.58 billion on refuse disposal in the state, between January and October 2021.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr Emmanuel Okafor, disclosed this during the 2021 budget assessment and 2022 budget defence session before the Anambra State House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation.
Okafor said that N3.8 million was also spent on erosion control across the state.
He said, ‘The ministry’s budget for 2021 was N2.166 billion and so far we carried out two major projects – waste disposal, where we have spent N1.58 billion and on erosion control, N3.8 million.
‘We also carried out routine monitoring of the five forest reserves in the state. We could not carry out our entire proposed project because of a lack of funds. We only managed the funds released to the ministry within the period.’
The ministry lamented non release of funds allocated to agencies under them, despite having been budgeted for diverse projects.
The Managing Director of one of the agencies under the ministry, Clear Drainage and Forest Preservation Agency, Mr Chido Obidiegwu, said that no funds were released to his agency out of the N255 million allocated in 2021.
‘We were supposed to carry out desilting of canals, clearing of drains to control flooding, recruitment and equipping of more forest guards to protect our forest reserves.
‘We wrote a lot of proposals to get at the funds but nothing was released to the agency in 2021,’ he said.
Also, Mr Amaechi Akaora, Managing Director, Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA), also lamented that the agency was able to access N64.5 million out of N305 allocated to it.
The Managing Director of the state’s Leisure Parks and Street Beautification Agency, Mrs Ify Atogu, also complained that the agency received N1.5 million out of the N300 million of its budgeted allocation in 2021.
In his reaction, the member representing Dunukofia Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Mr Lawrence Ezeudu, decried the 26 per cent budget performance of the ministry.
‘The Ministry of Environment is one of the key ministries that should be paid serious attention in terms of funds release, considering that our state is a flood and erosion-prone area.
‘In the 2022 budget, we will carry out our legislative functions and recommend adequate release of funds to ensure better budget performance,’ Ezeudu said.