Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo yesterday, through his commissioners, offered explanations on the government’s proposal to the House of Assembly, for approval to borrow the sum of N100 billion.
Questions surrounding this N100 Billion loan have been a major issue of debate in Anambra civic spaces.
In a meeting with the House Committee on Public Accounts, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Chiamaka Nnake, and Commissioner for Finance, Ifeatu Onejeme, explained that certain realities and considerations informed the government’s decision to borrow N100 billion which will be injected into the state’s need for infrastructure.
Making reference to Prof. Soludo’s manifesto, Onejeme averred that in fact, given the infrastructure demand in Anambra State, the state actually is in need of between N200 and N250 billion per annum, to be able to meet up with the infrastructure gap in the state.
During the meeting, the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Somto Udeze inquired to know how much of the N100 billion will be spent for 2022. In his response, Commissioner for Finance, Ifeatu Onejeme said that it is based on the approved budget. “It is based on the appropriation law, which deficit is N42 billion.”
On his part, Hon. Nonso Okafor inquired to know if the N42 billion deficit in the budget is included in the N100 billion, considering that the Commissioner for Budget, Chiamaka Nnake had said that the government needs more money. Again, Onejeme answered in the affirmative, buttressing that based on the needs of the state, there is a need for more money but for this year, the maximum amount that will be extracted from the loan when approved and secured, will be N42 billion, based on the appropriation law.
Over the years, budget performance in Anambra State has usually been less than 50%. The reason, Onejeme explained, is that the state has limited funds. “The reason budget performance is low in the previous administration is that the funds available to the state is limited”, Onejeme said.
On contending issues regarding the loan such as the duration of repayment, the commissioner said it’s between 7 and 10 years. He further explained that if the state takes N120 billion, then, repayment will be a monthly deduction of N1.571 billion. Hon. Nnamdi Okafor then insisted to know the repayment deduction for the N42 billion that is meant for this year which Onejeme calculated and said it is N532 million.