- Declares state healthy with lowest unemployment at 13.1% against national 27.1%
- Signposts BudgIT’s best fiscal responsibility index
Anambra, Nigeria’s sub-national with impressive ratings in fiscal responsibility and model in governance by domestic and international assessors, said recent claims by some groups that it has received N25 billion bond from the Debt Management Office (DMO) and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning for failed federal roads in the state, which the state has rehabilitated or reconstructed, are not true.
Don Adinuba, the commissioner for information and public enlightenment, said, it is rather bizarre that the reports allegedly circulated by Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, purporting that the bond was approved without the knowledge of the National Assembly.
He explained that bonds issuance for a state government in Nigeria are always an open business transaction, involving a retinue of institutions, including the regulator of the capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It begins with approval by the state House of Assembly, before the request moves to the DMO, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the SEC must be involved. “Every bit of the transaction must not only be transparent, but also be public knowledge,” Adinuba said.
The Anambra information commissioner said the state government has not raised any money from the DMO or the Federal Ministry of Finance under a bond or any financial instrument from any institution or organisation.
He reeled out Anambra’s state of socio-economic health, despite challenging times. “Our record of prudent financial management and integrity is well acknowledged far and near. Last August 31, for instance, BudgIT, a highly regarded independent civic organization, which uses technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change, declared Anambra State and the petroleum–rich Rivers State, the two states with the best fiscal responsibility index in Nigeria.”
Anambra, with a 2016 gross domestic product (GDP) economy of $8.55 billion (recently put at over N4.1 trillion), also posts a model in governance. Last August, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its latest survey of unemployment rates in Nigeria put Anambra, with a 13.1 percent unemployment rate in a working population of 2.25 million, as the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the country; whereas the average national unemployment rate is 27.1 percent.
“It is not for nothing that Anambra has now become the most competitive state in Nigeria,” the commissioner said. He described as “tough to speculate how Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah came about a phantom N25bn bond which Anambra State purportedly raised surreptitiously from the DMO/Federal Ministry of Finance.” The only thing that any individual can possibly think about, are the promissory notes, which the state government received in two tranches from the DMO/Federal Ministry of Finance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of failed federal roads in the state, he said.
According to him, the promissory notes were never secret, whereas the reimbursement was recommended by the Senate after a public hearing on the debts owed the state for the roads rehabilitation and reconstruction. “Given the fact that the Federal Ministry of Finance did not have the cash to settle the debts, it opted for promissory notes. The amounts and proceeds of the promissory notes are captured clearly in the Report of the Accountant General with Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December, 2019. The purposes to which the funds are deployed are stated clearly in the Annual Report. The transactions could not have been more honorable and transparent,” Adinuba said.
The information commissioner said, the state is today regarded as a model in governance, and that despite limited resources, it is ahead of every other state in the country in a lot of areas, including the employment rate which many economists in the world regard as the most important indicator of economic performance.