Governor Soludo’s Huge Footprints In Two Years Without Borrowing

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Governance, Rule Of Law And Value System

The way Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has managed the available scarce resources of Anambra State in the last two years bespeaks his determination to transform the public sector, justice system and mainstream Ndị Anambra’s values.

He has redefined the purpose and character of government through prudent and transparent fiscal management in order to achieve effective service delivery.

Many have continued to marvel at how he has been funding all his projects in this depressed economy.

The answer is not far-fetched going by the fact that Governor Soludo is not only an erudite Professor of Economics but a rare breed in prudent financial management. He has consistently released account statements and reports in adherence to legal requirements, showcasing dedication to accountability and responsible governance.

His government blocked all the areas of financial leakages and introduced the culture of doing more with less in a transparent manner.

This is illustrated in the annual budget designs where 63% of the budget was allocated to capital expenditure in 2023 while recurrent had 37%. This was further deepened in the current year’s (2024) budget where 77% has been allocated to capital expenditure and 23% to recurrent expenditure. Nowhere in the country has this been done.

In a survey released in 2023 by BudgIT, Anambra State was ranked among the five most fiscally sustainable states in the country. According to the report, this was as a result of “sound financial management and responsible budgeting”.

Though the Anambra State House Assembly approved that the Government could take a loan of N100 billion, the Governor has refused to access it and other tempting offers from various banks. He has remained steadfast in ensuring financial independence, insisting that the only reason he will take loans is for bankable projects that will add discernible value to the quality of Ndi Anambra’s lives.

Being that Anambra State has great potentials for internally generated revenue after Lagos, the government is mining this advantage in a responsible manner that does not levy more pains on the people in this difficult period. As a practical demonstration of this, government has since granted tax exemptions to petty traders, artisans, cart pushers, vulcanizers and business owners operating with less than N100, 000 capital, among others.

Government has digitized IGR collection, and is gradually eliminating non-state actors from government revenue collection process and plugging leakages. Consequently, the state’s IGR has increased by 22.4% between 2022 and 2023.

More so, under Soludo’s leadership, Anambra came first among the 17 southern states in the 2023 Ease of Doing Business ranking. This reflects a commitment to creating a favourable business environment, attracting investments and establishing the state as top destination for business activities in the country.

The state, in collaboration with UNICEF, also provides social protection policy which gives hope for the most vulnerable in the society – children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

In order to optimize the structure of government, the Soludo administration implemented a thorough restructuring of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for optimal effectiveness. This has helped in reducing cost of governance by over 80%, saving about N3 billion from reducing facility management costs in two years.

For civil servants in the state, the Solution Government, by January 1, 2023, implemented a 10 percent salary increase and provided non-taxable cash awards of N12, 000 to public servants and pensioners from September to December, 2023, to mitigate the impact of the removal of fuel subsidies.
The Governor has also ensured efficient disbursement of pensions and gratuities for retired staff.

Local Government
In the local government system, the five local government secretariats – Aguata, Nnewi South, Idemili North, Idemili South and Ihiala, damaged by “Unknown Gunmen” have been reconstructed, while renovation of Ekwusigo, Dunukofia Secretariats and the long abandoned Anambra West Secretariat have been completed.

The government’s efforts in fostering unity and stability in the past two years resulted in restoration of peace in 138 communities that were having leadership tussles.

Governor Soludo’s effort at reaching areas left behind in development by the previous administration like Nzam, Awba Ofemmili and Olumbanasaa, has renewed the people’s faith in government. It is also a proof that Governor Soludo is determined to fulfill his pledge of bringing disruptive change and non-discriminatory governance to every nook and cranny of Anambra State. He is indeed walking the APGA talk of “Onye aghana nwanne ya” or no one must be left behind.

He has effectively altered the trend where previous Governors concentrated development projects in their senatorial zones to the detriment of others by kicking off road construction works in Okpoko and other areas in Anambra North Senatorial zone while he hails from Anambra South Senatorial Zone.

There is a saying that politicians think of the next election, but statesmen think of the next generation. In just two years in office, Governor Soludo’s huge footprints have distinguished him as a unique statesman and leader of his people, surely destined for greater calling. He has clearly demonstrated that while it is important to cater for the present, it is even more important to plan for the next generation, a governance culture which has been lacking in the country before now. Planning brings the future into the present so that we can do something about it, and this is the turf where Soludo is a deft player.

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