BY SUNNY A. DAVID
The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, has signed into law, the state’s revised appropriation bill of N114.9 billion.
The budget with the theme, ‘‘Accelerating Infrastructural Development and Youth Entrepreneurship’’ is N22.2bn less than the original budget of N137.1bn, translating to a 16 per cent reduction.
According to a statement made available to newsmen in Awka on Friday by the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Research & Policy Formulation, Honourable Nonso Ndumanya, the budget originally approved by the State House of Assembly on October 25, 2019, was earlier assented to by the Governor on November 8, 2019.
At the State Executive Council Chambers, Governor’s Lodge, Awka, Governer Obiano said the revision became necessary following the COVID-19 pandemic which brought about a fall in crude oil price and the national and State-wide lockdown of businesses.
This development, he said, had forced Federal and State governments to review their approved budgets downward in line with the expected reductions in revenue.
A breakdown shows the revised budget has a recurrent expenditure of N49.2billion representing a 16.3 per cent reduction from the original estimates of N58.8billion and capital expenditure of N65.8billion as opposed to N78.4billion in the 2020 original budget, representing a reduction of 16.1 per cent.
Further analysis shows that expected revenues, grants and financing were reduced to N89.4billion and N10billion from the former estimates of N120.9bn and N16billion which represents 26 and 37.5 per cent reduction.
The Governor said despite the significant reduction in the current expenditure estimates, the state government had kept faith with its responsibility to the workforce by ensuring that minimal reductions were made in the personnel budget.
The bulk of the reduction was made on non-critical personnel and overhead costs, though overhead and personnel costs for MDAs in the health sector were not reduced as they are central to the State COVID-19 response.
“Clarifying further, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mr. Mark Okoye, said the downward review was due to financial risks arising from the emerging global economic crisis, especially the fall in the prices of oil at the international market, cut in production and low demand caused by lock-down/movement restrictions with attendant effects on the economy and consequent reductions in federal allocations to States and local governments.