Environment, Diaspora Affairs Ministries, others defend 2019 financial expenditure
By Chizoba Okeke :
Awka, July 15, 2020 (MOI) Anambra Ministries of Environment, Diaspora Affairs and others appeared before the House Committee on Public Accounts to defend their 2019 financial expenditures.
Anambra Commissioner for Environment, Mr Obi Nwankwo said his ministry spent N679 million in 2019 to contain erosion menace caused by rains that caused heavy flooding.
The commissioner was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Emmanuel Okafor.
He noted that flooding had over the years been an outcome of people using opportunity of heavy rainfall to dump their refuse into drainage channels.
According to him, apart from roads and farmlands washed away, farmlands were destroyed by flooding and even residential buildings in flood-prone areas were not spared as affected homes were deserted by owners on account of resultant erosion.
``Flooding and erosion are the fallout of how we dispose our refuse because they block the drains.
``We need to have an attitudinal change toward waste disposal in order to minimise the effects of flooding and erosion in the state as we continue to experience more rainfalls,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the ministry received a capital release of N2.097 billion out of the N3.6 billion budgetary allocation, and spent another N1.180 billion on establishment of waste management complex in Nnewi.
In his remarks, Mr Somtochukwu Udeze, Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, urged the ministry to channel more funds into erosion control to curb the menace and to ensure proper accountability of public funds.
Meanwhile, Managing Director, Anambra State Waste Management Authority (ASWAMA), Mr Amechi Akorah, said that only 40 per cent of residents in Awka settle their sanitation levies.
According to him, most residents claimed they are not aware of the levy.
The MD explained that his Agency received N120 million as subvention to pay salaries and manage wastes in Awka alone.
He pointed out that cities like Onitsha, Ekwulobia and Nnewi were managed by some contractors appointed by the state government.
``ASWAMA only manages wastes in Awka; we do not give contracts or supervise contractors in other cities. We don't even know them.
``Revenues generated are paid directly into government accounts. So, we don't have the records,” he said.
Mr Udeze, while responding expressed displeasure at the Agency as they did not keep financial records of their transactions.
``We need to see the records to know how much was generated from waste management in Awka, where you supervise.
``So, the Agency will have to appear again before this Committee,” he said.
In another development, Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism was also asked to re-appear before the Committee because their audited accounts were different from the account records presented by the ministry.
Mr Christian Madubuko, Commissioner in the Ministry, apologised to the committee and promised to reconcile their financial records for 2019.
Meanwhile, Anambra State Physical Planning Board was turned back by the Committee because the Chairman of the Board, Mr Chike Maduekwe was not available to defend their financial records for 2019.
``The issue of finance should be taken seriously. The Chairman is the accounting officer of the Board and his presence is very important to this committee.’’
The chairman was asked to appear before the Committee on July 17 to defend the Board's financial records. (MOI)