The Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo, has inaugurated the State-Local Government Joint Accounts Committee, disclosing that the state was heavily indebted to pensioners.
Soludo revealed that the state was owing over N14 billion in arrears for gratuities and pensions which his administration had started paying.
Press Secretary to Soludo, Christian Aburime, said the inauguration was done shortly after the State Executive Council Meeting at the Government House, Awka.
The committee is chaired by the state Commissioner for Local Government, TonyCollins Nwabunwanne, with state Commissioner for Finance, Ifeatu Onejeme; and Dr Arinze Nwankwo-Ikwueto, as Vice Chairman and Secretary respectively.
Soludo who thanked members of the Committee for accepting the appointment, said their job was not going to be an easy one as it came at a time when resources of the state were lean and there was no much to work with.
“Resources are not there, you are being called upon to do this work at a time when there are challenges in the finances of the country, the state and local government and you have been called upon to find the solution,” he said.
Soludo said his administration would set up the local government administration that would address the challenges in that layer of government.
He pointed out that the infrastructure in the various local government areas, including those burnt down by arsonists, needed to be repaired to enable council staff to go to offices and perform optimally.
“For us, we have a vision to have responsibility devolved to base and to have local government that is empowered to deliver development to the grassroot.
“Consequently, the finances that are very limited will have to be run in a different way; we have a peculiar local government system where the staff and other obligations of the local government are pulled together,” he said.
Nwabunwanne, who spoke on behalf of the committee, described his team as competent and ready to deliver on their mandate and thanked the governor for finding them worthy.
Other members of the committee include Mr. featu Obiokoye, representing Central Senatorial district, Dr. Nnamdi Nwadiogbu for North Senatorial district and Mr George Ezeogudi for South Senatorial district.
Representatives of Transition Committee Chairman are Dr. Chibuike Ofobuike, South; Mrs. Amaka Obi, Central; and Mr. Livinus Onyenwe, North.