The Rivers State governor, Barr Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, said that the unfortunate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in Nigeria, is responsible for the review of the 2020 budget.
Wike stated this in Government House, Port Harcourt as he signed into law the revised 2020 Appropriation Bill, this followed the presentation of the Budget by the Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, to him.
The governor, through a release signed and made available by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said that, “The unfortunate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in Nigeria, necessitated the review. The implication of the review of the budget, is that budgetary allocations including capital and recurrent expenditure have been reduced.
“However, this will not affect the delivery of quality developmental projects and services to Rivers people. It is most unfortunate that everybody is living a different life now because of the pandemic, which calls for us to face the economic reality.
“The COVID-19 has affected economic activities and revenues of government, and so it became necessary to review our budget. By the revised budget, it means that so many things have to change. We have cut down the capital and recurrent expenditure to face the reality.
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“We are the only State that has not cut down the salaries of political appointees and elected officers. Virtually all the States have cut down 20 to 30 percent of salaries of political appointees. Having cut down the recurrent expenditures, the overhead will no longer be the same”, he said.
According to the release, “Total figure of the revised budget for 2020 fiscal year signed by the Governor is N300,370,071,183.33 Billion. It is a 48 percent reduction from the N530,813,357,619.00 Billion originally budgeted for spending.”
On the proposed reconstruction of the Assembly Quarters, Wike said, “One thing I can assure you is that we are working with Julius Berger Nigeria PLC to reconstruct the Assembly Quarters. We want something that will stand the test of time. A good living environment and quality houses will enhance your input and services to our State.”
The release revealed that the governor promised to release the balance of funds for the 2018 constituency projects of the legislators.
Also speaking, as captured in the release, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule noted that the Rivers State revised Appropriation Law No. 7 of 2020 is intended to make provision of services to fall into current reality.
According to him, “The House passed this Bill and it is intended to provide for a Law to revise the Rivers State Appropriation Law No. 12 of 2019 to make provision for services of Rivers State for the year ending on the 31st of December 2020.
“Against the approved figures of sum-N530,813,357,619.00 Billion which the House approved in 2019, as a result of the prevailing economic circumstances of the country , the House now approved a total sum of N171,33,409,454.55 billion for capital expenditure. For the recurrent expenditure, N129,336,662,028.77 billion bringing a total of N300,370,071,183.33 Billion,” he added.