Wike signs N300.37bn re­vised 2020 bud­get

Business Day (Nigeria) - - NEWS - IG­NATIUS CHUKWU

Gov­er­nor Nye­som Wike of Rivers State on Mon­day signed into law the re­vised 2020 bud­get now down to N300.37 bil­lion from N530.81 bil­lion passed in De­cem­ber 2019.

The sign­ing fol­lowed the pre­sen­ta­tion of the bud­get by the ma­jor­ity leader of the state House of As­sem­bly, Mar t i n Amae­whule, at the Govern­ment House in Port Har­court.

The bud­get is a 48 per­cent re­duc­tion from the N530.81 orig­i­nally bud­geted.

Gov­er­nor Wike said the un­for­tu­nate ef­fect of the Covid- 19 pan­demic, par­tic­u­larly in Nige­ria, ne­ces­si­tated the re­view.

The im­pli­ca­tion of the re­view of the bud­get, ac­cord­ing to the gov­er­nor, is that bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing cap­i­tal and re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­tures have been re­duced. How­ever, this, he said, would not af­fect the de­liv­ery of qual­ity de­vel­op­men­tal projects and ser­vices to Rivers peo­ple.

The gov­er­nor is con­struct­ing three fly­overs at N21 bil­lion and re­cently awarded a third with two link roads at N18 bil­lion. The state re­cently got

N78.9 bil­lion re­fund for fed­eral road projects ex­e­cuted in the state in the past. Many cit­i­zens have sug­gested what projects to be tar­geted by the wind­fall but the gov­er­nor has so far re­mained silent.

Sign­ing the re­vised ap­pro­pri­a­tion law, Wike said: “It is most un­for­tu­nate that ev­ery­body is liv­ing a dif­fer­ent life now be­cause of the pan­demic, which calls for us to face the eco­nomic rea l i t y . 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.

“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 per cent of salaries of political ap­pointees. Hav­ing cut down the re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­tures, the over­head will no longer be the same”, he said.

The gov­er­nor also stated that his ad­min­is­tra­tion was de­ter­mined to en­sure that the pro­posed re­con­struc­tion of the House of As­sem­bly quar­ters stands the test of time. “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,” he stated. The gov­er­nor promised to re­lease the bal­ance of funds for the 2018 con­stituency projects of the leg­is­la­tors.

Also speak­ing, the ma­jor­ity leader of the house, Martin Amae­whule, said the Rivers State re­vised ap­pro­pri­a­tion law No. 7 of 2020 was in­tended to make pro­vi­sion of ser­vices to fall into cur­rent re­al­ity.

“Against the ap­proved fig­ures of sum of N530.81 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 bil­lion for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture. For the re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture, N129.37 bil­lion bring­ing a to­tal of N300.37 bil­lion” he added.

Speaker of the house, Ikuinyi-owaji Ibani, noted that Gov­er­nor Wike has con­sci­en­tiously im­ple­mented poli­cies and pro­grammes to ben­e­fit Rivers peo­ple.

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