Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, C-Don Adinuba, has raised an alarm over the deplorable condition of public libraries in the state.
Mr Adinuba made the claim during the ongoing 2021 Budget Assessment and 2022 Budget Defence, before the state House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, in Awka, on Wednesday.
He said the 11 government libraries across the state have continued to grapple with dilapidated structures, obsolete books and equipment due to neglect.
According to him, most of the libraries, particularly the ones in the commercial city of Onitsha, which were established in 1966, needed a complete overhaul in terms of structure and content.
“Our libraries are in a mess. The ministry wrote to get fund approval for the rehabilitation of the libraries, when the approval came, the Ministry of Housing was asked to carry out the project.
“It is very sad to note that till date, nothing has been done and the more the delay, the higher the cost of building materials. We really need these libraries to promote reading culture and literacy in the state.
“We are also having challenges in the area of capacity building for staff. This is because we were able to access only 3.8 per cent of our 2021 budget.
“We are appealing that the assembly intervene in the area of fund release so we can carry out our projects in the ministry effectively,” he said.
Also speaking, Chuka Nnabuife, managing director, Anambra State Newspaper and Printing Corporation, said that funds had not been released to the corporation from the allocated budget since 2015.
“Due to lack of funds and equipment, the state newspapers and the printing press have not been functioning optimally, let alone generate revenue for the state.
“We go outside and even as far as Asaba to print; we also require operational vehicles and an electricity generating set to operate,” he said.
Reacting, Okechukwu Okoye, representing Aguata ll Constituency at the state Assembly, expressed dissatisfaction over the four per cent budget performance of the ministry.
He also urged the ministry to highlight their financial challenges in the 2022 budget.
“The ministry is critical for democracy because it entails keeping the public informed as well as to sustain government/public relations.
“In the 2022 budget, we will carry out our legislative functions and recommend adequate release of funds to ensure better budget performance and revenue generation,” Mr Okoye said.
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