Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano on Thursday presented a N166.9 billion budget proposal for 2018 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly.
The draft estimate titled "the budget for value for money, economic diversification and job creation", represents a 44 percent increase on the 2017 budget, with road construction and rehabilitation getting the highest allocation of N27.93bn followed by Education with N9.5bn.
Presenting the draft before lawmakers, Obiano said the state would spend N63.9bn on recurrent expenditure while N103.1 billion would be expended on capital expenditure.
He said the budget highlights the significant infrastructural development expected in 2018, leveraging on the successful stability in our domestic economy during the challenging periods in 2016/2017.
"This budget is the first meaningful step towards consolidation of our previous performance to transform Anambra into a hub for business and investments as well as the poster-boy for inclusiveness and sustainable development in Nigeria.
The budget address read in part, "Our continued intervention in Roads and Bridges, which will always be a key strategic focus of my administration, is estimated at N27.93bn of which Road construction and rehabilitation will gulp N25.7bn, completing approximately 150km of roads across the State.
"In agriculture, we are aiming to sustain the current successes achieved in the last four years by implementing a two -pronged strategy of : facilitating private sector and export-driven large scale agro-allied investments; and empowerment of small scale farmers in the state, consequently alleviating poverty as well as creating jobs.
"To achieve this, we have developed the Community Agriculture Land Development Project where we expect to develop over 1,500 hectares of land across the three senatorial zones of the State.
We shall augment this by allocating over N700m to the procurement of agro inputs, including seedlings and fertilizers, to support our farmers.
To achieve this, we have allocated the sum of N3.8bn to the Agricultural Sector.”
On education, the governor underscored the need for the sector to be properly funded in order to deliver on credible and globally competitive education.
He said: "My administration shall ensure that Youth Empowerment is a Key Covenant between us and the people we govern in the 2018 Fiscal Year.
"Providing meaningful employment opportunities to our teeming youths is vital to ensuring the continued socio-economic growth of the state as well as sustaining the current security narrative in the State.
"The main driver in achieving this would be through the Youth Entrepreneurship & Empowerment Programme where we have allocated N5bn to empower up to 10,000 youths through vocational, agricultural and artisan training programmes as well as the provision of interest-free start-up capital to commence their businesses.”
He appealed for accelerated consideration and eventual passage of the budget to ensure a timely take-off of implementation.
Responding, the Speaker of the House, Mrs Rita Maduagwu, assured that the lawmakers would sacrifice their Christmas holidays to ensure that the appropriation bill was given accelerated passage.