We Never Padded Budget – Soludo

By Jude Atupulazi

The Anambra State Government has denied padding the revised 2022 budget currently before the Anambra State House of Assembly and waiting to be passed into law.

The denial came in the wake of a social media report alleging that the revised 2022 Budget had been padded.

But an official statement from the government, signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Christian Aburime, has rubbished the allegation and described it as the hand work of losers and detractors which should evoke pity for the purveyors.

‘The misinformation in the referenced article above should evoke pity for the purveyors in the light of the manifest ignorance boldly couriered in every paragraph of the hasty piece of distraction. Bad as it is, no credible reporter has signed this off, establishing it for what it is; lazy propaganda!,’ the Anambra State Government said in the report.

The government further accused some groups of people of being behind the report and referred to them as those whose lucrative criminal enterprise was being smoked out by government’s renewed fight against all forms of criminality in the state, housed in various camps and bushes perpetrating crimes; and those whose source of livelihood was government’s money and patronage as a result of free oil money which had stopped coming.

‘Currently, to even fund infrastructural development, we would of course have to borrow until our internally generated revenue (IGR) is gotten to a point where we meet these obligations. In doing this, we owe it as a duty to ndị Anambra to ensure that every penny of our borrowed funds is accounted for and deployed to building quality infrastructure and not for consumption.

‘We are moving to the next stage of making Anambra a livable and prosperous smart mega city by confronting head-on, the infrastructural decay in our beloved state. The road infrastructure in our state is in such deplorable situation that the Solution Governor has declared a state of emergency on the road infrastructure with an unprecedented budget allocation of about 64% percent of the capital budget and an ambitious target of flagging off at least 220km of roads as soon as the rains abate; with this ambitious programme and knowing full well that failure does not exist in our determined minds, the detractors are at a loss and are raising the battle cry with the sole aim of trying to scuttle our determination with all manners of blackmail,’ the statement read.

On the alleged claim that the Commissioner for Works refused to appear before the state assembly to defend the budget, the statement described it as a figment of the imagination of the unknown writers with the intent of creating rancour between the executive and the legislature.

‘The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure was, indeed, the first Commissioner to appear before the House Committee on the first day of the budget defence, being 29th of June, 2022, at about 10am. This is on record and was captured by the press.

‘On the cost of road per kilometer, it is funny that the “unknown writer”, like his counterpart, the “unknown gunmen”, is using propaganda and deceit to hoodwink the unsuspecting public. How do you start talking about the cost of contract for roads currently being designed and contract not awarded? Very funny! Of course, people always judge others by their own standards.

‘Since the “unknown writer” made dubious comparisons to previous administrations, it is important that we place on record for the purposes of Ndi Anambra who employed us and to whom we are accountable, that the previous administrations awarded roads with the cost per kilometer varying from above one billion Naira per kilometer, to a little over two hundred million Naira per kilometer when diesel was about One Hundred and Twenty Naira (N120) per liter and asphalt was about eighteen thousand Naira per ton.

Of course, cost per kilometer depends on several factors, including the topography, soil texture, design, stone base or just on laterite, overall quality, etcetera,’ the statement read further, while giving details of the roads awarded by previous governments and their costs per kilometer between 2009 and 2018.

‘The losers of the new order will continue to try desperate acts to fight back but we remain focused on doing the people’s work. During the dry season, Ndi Anambra will see the mass action on their roads and Anambra will continue to win,’ the statement concluded.