THE Ebonyi State Government has reviewed the 2020 budget downward by 26 percent as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s economy digs deeper.
The state governor, Dave Umahi, said that the N178,366,348,75.38, which is now N131,847,577,874.61 billion, would be sent to the House of Assembly for approval.
During the COVID-19 Response Revised 2020 Citizens Budget Inputs/Consultative meeting, held at the Ecumenical Centre Abakaliki, Umahi said the review was necessary in order to absorb the impact of COVID-19 crisis management, and stabilize the economy following a decline in capital receipts.
The consultative meeting was convened to get the input of all segments of the society before the revised budget would be sent to the House of Assembly for approval.
Umahi said: “The Federal Government and the World Bank under States Transparency Programme, require that different segments of the society to participate at the time a budget is being prepared.
“This process is commendable as every segment of the society will have the opportunity to contribute on how their money should be spent.”
According to him, in the preparation of the 2020 budget, a public hearing was held and their contributions of members of the public helped in shaping the budget proposal before it went to the House of Assembly.
He explained that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on world economy with the fall in oil prices, fall in revenue generation, it became imperative to realistically review the budget and accommodate the disruptions.
He added: “We have made some proposals in our review, and we want a public hearing with different segments of our state to review them to enable us finalise the process of the revision before it is presented to the House of Assembly.
“In the budget review, it is important to examine the major focus of the estimates and the performance from January 2020 to May 31.”
Ten key MDAs were selected for review according to the governor.
“Health had approved budget of 9.18% of total budget and a performance of 4.39% within five months meaning that it would have performed over 100% of its target at the end of 2020
“Education had a budget of 16.55% and performed 3.98% within five months meaning it could have performed about 60% of its target by December 2020.
“Works and transport have a budget of 26.27% and performed 3.34% in five months meaning it would have performed 30.51% by December 31.
“This poor performance and huge allocation was because of the expected $150 million Ring Road loan, which we have removed from our review so as the is being funded from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”