Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has signed the Revised 2020 Appropriation Bill into law with a pledge to make necessary sacrifices to ensure the sustenance of critical sectors of the state’s economy amid disruptions caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The budget, which was reduced by 30 percent from N179bn to N128.8 billion, was signed into law after the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA), Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye and leadership of the House presented it to the governor, at the Government House, Benin City.
Obaseki said the budget is coming at an unusual time when the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed certain challenges, noting, “The challenges may be difficult now but in the medium and long-term, this administration would need to re-think the economy of the state.
“The financial and economic consequences of COVID-19 pandemic are challenging, if not more challenging than the health crisis it created. Following several reforms taken by this administration, especially in our financial management and budgeting system, and that of the economy, the impact has not been so devastating.”
He continued: “We have been able to pay workers’ salaries and also pay our pensioners on time. We will focus on critical infrastructure that is required for production. We would be realigning the Edo economy to make us stronger after the pandemic comes to an end.
“With this budget as a state, we need to make painful adjustments as we don’t intend to lay off workers or stop paying pensioners. We would spend more on recurrent expenditure as we keep jobs on, but it will affect capital expenditure that we wanted to undertake this year 2020.”
Governor Obaseki assured the people of the state that despite the reduction in the 2020 Budget by 30 per cent, his administration will focus on the things that are key, important and critical for the state’s development.
He added: “People and nations are no longer depending much on energy and crude oil, following the slowdown in the global economy. Transportation has been grounded, factories are not producing as we are having a cyclical shift in earning profile and its fundamentals as life may not go back to what it used to be.”
Earlier, the Speaker EDHA, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye, said the world has found itself in rare circumstances as COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees.
He said: “When the proposed revised budget came, it didn’t meet us as a surprise. Due to the great plans for the state, you presented N179 billion at the beginning of the year, for the 2020 fiscal year but due to Coronavirus, we had no choice than to bring it down to N128.8 billion.”