THE former governor of Anambra State and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, for the 2023 election, Mr Peter Obi has explained that he saved money for the state during his tenure in office in order to make things easy for his successor.
Obi, who spoke through his media adviser, Mr. Val Obienyem said the money saved was for smooth functioning of the state and to assist in the payment of workers’ salaries for at least two years.
“I saved N48,629,473,469 in local currency, some of which we tied to specific projects like payment of two-year salary of civil servants we employed for him not to be encumbered. There was also money set aside for Agulu and Onitsha Hotels, the Awka and Nnewi Malls and some critical roads, like the completion of the dual carriage road over which we had got permission from the federal government to do and to be paid back by the Federal Government. We also left some for him to continue what we were doing aggressively.
” There was also US$156 million (about N27 billion at that time and about N75 billion today when the yields are added). After our study of the Chinese phenomenal achievements as we were coming to the end of MDGs, we learned that the Chinese Regional governments were able to attract a number of investments because of the ability to contribute or partner with the investors in setting up productive facilities within their regions.
For example, some of them effectively made equity contributions of 10-20%, which they were able to achieve due to their robust savings.
“So, our calculation was that if the state would be able to save a particular amount (US$18-20 million) as we did in eight years, up until 2030 at the average interest rate of a little of over 6%, we would be able to achieve about a billion dollar in savings and earnings.
We would then use about 50 percent of this amount to attract investments, considering that the average Chinese Small and Medium Scale Enterprise(SME), for example, was set up with about two million dollars.
“Our goal was that if we would be able to invest 25 percent in each enterprise, which is $500,000, we would be able to achieve 1000 SMEs facilities scattered all over Anambra State, which would jump-start aggressive economic growth within the state, especially as income from oil is coming to an end.”