Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential Candidate, has responded to a statement made by Prof. Charles Soludo, the governor of Anambra state, that the investments Obi made while serving in that capacity were worthless.
Obi made it clear that he had set aside money for the Anambra State Government at the end of his term in order to give Willie Obiano a head start and to cover some federal projects that his administration was not authorized to handle.
In response to a question regarding his opinion on the investment of government outside the public sector with reference to Obi as a former governor, Soludo stated on Thursday During an interview with Channels TV’s Politics Today.
Obi responded to Soludo’s remarks on Friday by saying, “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, Agulu and Onitsha Hotel, Awka and Nnewi Malls, and some crucial roads like the completion of the dualization of the Dual carriage road over which we had gotten permission to do so and be paid We also gave him some so he could carry on the aggressive work we were performing.
Obi provided the following justification for the $156 million (or roughly N27 billion at the time and N75 billion today when the yields are added):
“After studying China’s extraordinary accomplishments as the MDGs were coming to an end, we discovered that the Chinese regional governments were successful in luring a number of investments due to their capacity to partner with investors or contribute to the establishment of productive facilities within their regions.
For instance, some of them successfully contributed 10–20% to equity, which they were able to do since they had strong saving habits.
According to our calculations, if the state could save a specific amount (US$18–20 million) as we did over a period of eight years, up until 2030, at an average interest rate of just over 6%, we would be able to save and earn about $1 billion.
“Considering that the typical Chinese Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME), for example, was established with approximately two million dollars, we would then use about 50% of this amount to attract investments.”
Obi added that his objective was to benefit 1,000 SMEs located throughout Anambra if he could invest $500,000, or 25%, in each business.
He claimed that since oil revenue was ending, this would kick-start “aggressive economic growth within the state.”