The Anambra State Ministry of Works, on says it spent not less than N13.45 billion on different road projects across the state from January to September.
The Commissioner for Works, Mr Marcel Ifejiofor, made the disclosure at the ongoing Bilateral Engagement with the State House of Assembly Committee on Works, to defend the Ministry’s proposed budget for 2021, in Awka
Ifejiofor, an Engineer said some of the funds were also spent on erosion-control measure and bridge constructions.
He also said that N7.198 billion was spent on construction of the state’s Cargo Airport.
“The original budget for the ministry was N21.16 billion, the revised was N22.917 billion and the actual expenditure we have recorded from January to September is N20.648 billion.
“On road projects, N14.5 billion was budgeted and N13.45 billion spent by September while N8 billion was budgeted, we so far spent N7.298.
“So, the money yet to be released from the budget is about N2.268 billion.
“In 2020, new roads were awarded and we continued with some old road projects. We also paid some contractors, while we have yet to pay some,’’ he said.
Ifejiofor, then, lamented that the budgetary allocation to road infrastructure in the 2021 proposed budget was not adequate.
“Our budget for 2021 is about N36.6 billion – N31.1 billion for roads while about N5.7 billion has been proposed for the cargo airport.
“Gov. Willie Obiano has asked us to construct about 50 roads including bridges across the three Senatorial zones we are also planning to channel funds as intervention on some erosion sites too.
“Our budget is not going to be adequate because there is so much work to be done. It is through the Ministry of Works that the dividends of democracy are being delivered.
“So, we urge the Assembly to intervene in any way they can to see if our budget can be boosted before it’s approved,’’ he said.
Earlier, some of the lawmakers lamented over badly – constructed roads, broken down roads and a lack of access roads into most communities in their constituencies.
Mr Lawrence Ezeudu (Dunukofia) said there was the need to increase the budget of the Ministry to cater for the road infrastructure across the state.
Ezeudu also complained that the ministry did not provide the list of road projects and the money spent on each road in 2020.
The House Committee Chairman on Budget and Appropriation, Mr Obinna Emeneka (Anambra East) urged the ministry to ensure equal distribution of road infrastructure based on constituencies.
“Ensure that the 50 roads to be constructed in 2021 are well distributed among the 30 constituencies in the state,’’ Emeneka stressed.
Dr Tim Ifedioranma, House Committee Chairman on Works, said the budget would not make significant impact but 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.
He also urged the ministry to specify and provide the roads to be constructed, cost implications and the ministry’s debt profile.
According to Ifedioranma, the success of an administration is measured by the number and quality of access roads delivered.