…Proposes 13.67% reduction of N23.1b
The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Tuesday, engaged citizens on the proposal to revise the state’s 2020 budget and tailor it down to align with the current economic realities occasioned by the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government and all 36 states of the federation were mandated to revise their budgets, in line with the templates adopted by the National Executive Council, to be able to adapt to the current situation globally.
Speaking during the public presentation, held at The Dome Event Centre, Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, said that the budget revision became imperative because of “the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially the drastic reduction in government earnings, arising from the sudden collapse of the global demand for price of crude oil”.
Mrs. Ezeilo pointed out that the public session with citizens of the state underscores the state government’s commitment to participatory democracy and transparency.
The Deputy Governor added that the exercise was also “in fulfillment of our obligations under the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the conditions of the World Bank budget policy support partnership as well as our Open Government Partnership (OGP) obligations.
She maintained that “the budget of the Enugu State Government is ‘the business’ of all the stakeholders and opinion leaders as well as all Ndi Enugu at home and in the Diaspora”, stressing that their brilliant and patriotic inputs and the faithfulness “made our 2019 budget to achieve a performance of 80%”.
She said this was in addition to Enugu’s current enviable rating as one of the six most economically viable states in Nigeria.
Earlier in his remark, the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr. David Ugwunta, disclosed that the state government had carried out similar exercise during the preparation of the 2020 budget, which he said, offered citizens the opportunity to make their inputs.
Dr. Ugwunta explained that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had its negative consequences that resulted in the drop of GDP growth, which brought about increase in inflation.
The commissioner said that the development propelled “the need to look at the 2020 budget and to be able to bring it down and align it to the current economic realities”.
Dr. Ugwunta, therefore, informed the public that the State Government proposed a 13.67 percent reduction in the 2020 budget size of N169, 557,658,300.00, which amounts to N23,183,017,220.00.
He stated that the proposed revised budget estimate is N146,374,641,080.00, while the savings and additional sum required are N53,617,927,900 and N27,455,910,680.00 respectively.
The commissioner further disclosed that the 2020 budget approved recurrent and capital expenditures of N68,790,000,000.00 and N100,767,658,300.00 were revised to N69,790,000,000.00 and N76,584,641,080 respectively, representing 48 percent and 52 percent.
While seeking the cooperation and inputs of state residents, Dr. Ugwunta assured them that the revised budget, if approved, will guarantee the state government’s firm footing to address their development needs and respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19 pandemic.
Dignitaries at the event included the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Ugwu and other members of the State Assembly, the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya and other members of the State Executive Council, state traditional rulers led by their Chairman, HRH Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Budget and Planning, Mr. Casmir Ugwu, members of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), President Generals among others.