Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State has said he inherited “red treasury and pervasive insecurity” from his predecessor, Willie Obiano.
Mr Soludo disclosed this, on Thursday, during his presentation of the N170 billion revised 2022 budget proposal to the Anambra House of Assembly.
The governor had in March, during a programme on Arise TV, five days after his inauguration as the governor of the state, said he inherited about N400 million in the state treasury and over N109 billion debt.
Mr Soludo, while presenting the budget to the lawmakers, however, said his administration would take steps to overcome the “humongous” challenges confronting it.
“We have seriously started reforming our system of tax administration to significantly ramp up our internally generated revenue over the coming years. In the meantime, the dire needs of Ndi Anambra and our transformation agenda cannot wait,” Mr Soludo said.
“We are working on a mixture of financing options including debt that is ring-fenced to fund bankable projects and/or infrastructure with impacts on the economy to guarantee efficient and effective service delivery to our people while ensuring fiscal sustainability over the medium to longer terms,” he added.
Mr Soludo said his administration would partner international developmental organisations, the private sector as well as the federal government to achieve some of the programmes of his administration.
“We are reforming our processes and ramping up our active engagements to maximize the benefits of such partnerships.
“For example, we have budgeted to meet our counterpart funding requirements to access federal and development partner funds.”
The governor promised to tackle the worsening insecurity in the state.
“We have chosen to confront the foundational issue of security head-on and expected that those profiting from the lucrative criminal enterprise would viciously fight back, and they have.
“Criminals taking the seven local governments of the (Anambra) South Senatorial Zone hostage were the most acute. They are testing our will and resolve. (But) let me assure you this: Anambra will win,” he said.
Like other states in the South-east, security has deteriorated in Anambra State lately with attacks by armed persons reported almost on a daily basis across the region.
The attacks by the gunmen increased in the state shortly after Mr Soludo’s inauguration and announcement of an end to the sit-at-home order in the state.
During his inauguration, Mr Soludo had called for dialogue with IPOB and other groups behind insecurity in the state and region.
The governor, thereafter, announced an amnesty programme for the gunmen and declared an end to the sit-at-home order in the state. But residents have continued to obey the Monday sit-at-home order in the state and across the region, mostly out of fear.
In another effort to find a lasting solution to the insecurity in the state and region, the governor, on May 13 visited Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in detention.
But the insecurity has continued in the state, with gunmen frequently attacking government facilities.
The Nigerian government has accused IPOB of being responsible for the attacks in the region. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement.
The separatist group is leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of the South-south.
Leader of the secessionist group, Mr Kanu, is detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for terrorism.
Mr Kanu appeared in court on May 18 for his trial. He is billed to appear in court again on May 26.