2020 Budget: Anambra lawmakers, commissioner, lament low budgetary allocation to road infrastructure

Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano
Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano

Some Anambra lawmakers and the State Ministry of Works on Wednesday decried the low budgetary allocated to road infrastructure in the state.

The Commissioner for Works, Marcel Ifejiofor, expressed dissatisfaction with the allocation at the ongoing bilateral engagement with the State House of Assembly Committee on Works, to defend the Ministry’s proposed budget for 2020, in Awka.

Mr Ifejiofor said the budgetary allocation to road infrastructure had experienced continuous decrease in the last three years.

According to him, N32 billion was allocated in 2017, N22.97 billion in 2018, N19.385 billion in 2019 and in the proposed 2020 budget, N14.5 billion has been allocated.

“It is unfortunate that N14.5 billion is being allocated for road infrastructure in the 2020 budget at a time when almost all the roads in the state have collapsed and required rehabilitation and construction.

“Why we are experiencing these problems regarding roads is because the intensity of the rains in the last three years is overwhelming, also, since most of the federal roads have broken down, there has been so much pressure on our local roads.

“Presently, we are working on about 180 roads, including bridges across the Senatorial Zones. We are also channelling funds as intervention on some erosion sites too.

“`It is just unfortunate that our budget is going down when there is so much work to be done. It is through the Ministry of Works that the dividends of democracy is being delivered.

“So, we urge the House of Assembly to intervene in anyway they can to see if our budget can get a boost before it is approved,” he said.

Earlier, many of the lawmakers lamented about badly-constructed roads, broken down roads and lack of access roads in most communities in their constituencies.

They also complained that most of the ongoing roads rehabilitation was not carried out in their constituencies.

Onyebuchi Offor, representing Ekwusigo, complained that no new road had been constructed or rehabilitated in his constituency in the last three years.

John Nwokoye, representing Awka North, said that his constituents were planning to stage a protest over lack of access roads in their communities.

The Majority Leader of the House, Nnamdi Okafor, (Awka South), said there was the need to increase the budget of the ministry to cater for the road infrastructure across the state.

The House Committee Chairman on Budget and Appropriation, Obinna Emeneka (Anambra East), urged the ministry to stop using funds meant for road infrastructure to intervene in erosion control.

According to him, erosion control is supposed to be carried out by the Ministry of the Environment.

Tim Ifedioranma, House Committee Chairman on Works, said the budget would not make significant impact.

He rather urged the ministry to come up with mechanisms to check and review road construction to ensure quality roads that would stand the test of time.

According to Mr Ifedioranma, the success of an administration is measured by the number and quality of access roads delivered. (NAN)

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