CSO lauds Soludo over Perm Secs’ appointment, urges gov to honor counterpart funding obligations

Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), a foremost Citizen stakeholders’ group has eulogized Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State on the recent appointment of 18 new Permanent Secretaries to fill the vacant positions left in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)

Leader of the group, Prince Chris Azor, stated this while reacting to swearing in of the appointees at the State Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Awka.

“The appointment is long overdue, but we still commend Mr Governor for doing the needful. We also congratulate the appointees and urge them to get to work immediately” he said.

However, the Human rights advocate implored the Governor to complement his current efforts by reviewing the State’s approach towards development partnership   obligations on counterpart funding of development projects in various sectors.

According to Comrade Azor, Anambra State has been defaulting in honouring counterpart funding obligations in numerous sectors; ranging from Health, Education, Agriculture, infrastructure and others.

He said that early this year, Anambra was flagged among the States unable to access N46.2 billion UBE funds. Ironically, Anambra was the only State not to have accessed its 2019 grant, and along with Abia, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Kwara and Ogun states, it is yet in default of collecting the 2020 grant, simply by not providing the counterpart funding that enables it to draw the UBE funds.

Anambra is also in default of counterpart funding obligations for IFAD/Value Chain Agricultural programme.

This is an intervention that has helped the State a great deal ensuring food security, poverty alleviation, job and wealth creation, with the potential to ramp up export business and earn the much desired, but elusive foreign exchange.

Staff of VCDP are owed over 22 months salaries and allowances.

In the State health sector, most programmes on immunization, maternal and child healthcare, sensitization etc are stalled for lack of counterpart funding and general inadequate financing.

The State is currently preparing for HPV (adolescent health) immunization in April, but the intervention will be likely stalled due to resource challenges.

Anambra was reported to have the highest burden of TB drug resistance cases and childhood TB contribution in the southeast and Nigeria.

The State RAAMP (World Bank assisted) Project has for some years remained moribund for similar reason of counterpart funding default.

Stakeholders opinion is that the State’s dereliction in paying counterpart funds is antithetical to the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, and the country’s international human rights obligations.

Concerned Citizens also, wondered why the State should fail to access grants that are ordinarily free.

To this end, Prince Azor, therefore, appealed to the Governor to ensure that necessary and sufficient actions are taken urgently to reverse the unpleasant trend.

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