Wike signs revised N300bn 2020 Budget, promises quality projects in Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Monday signed into law the revised 2020 Appropriation Bill.

This followed the presentation of the budget documents by the Majority Leader of Rivers State House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, to the governor at Government House, Port Harcourt.

The revised budget for 2020 fiscal year signed by Wike now has a total figure of N300,370,071,183.33.

It’s a 48 per cent reduction from the N530,813,357,619.00 originally budgeted for 2020 fiscal year.

Speaking while signing the revised financial instruments, Wike said the unfortunate effect of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly in Nigeria, necessitated the review.

He explained that the implication of the review of the budget was that budgetary allocations including capital and recurrent expenditure have been reduced.

But, he argued that the reduction would not affect the delivery of quality developmental projects and services to Rivers people.

“It is most unfortunate that everybody is living a different life now because of the pandemic, which forced us to face a new economic reality.

“The COVID-19 has affected economic activities and revenues of government, and so it has become 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 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,” Wike said.

The governor promised to release the balance of funds for the 2018 constituency projects of the legislators.

Also speaking, Amaewhule said the Rivers State Revised Appropriation Law No. 7 of 2020 is intended to make provision of services to fall into current reality.

“The House passed this Bill and it is intended to provide for a law to revise the Rivers State Appropriation Law No. 12 of 2019 to make provision for services of Rivers State for the year ending on the 31st of December 2020.

“Against the approved figures of a sum of N530,813,357,619.00 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 N171,33,409,454.55 for capital expenditure.

“For the recurrent expenditure, N129,336,662,028.77 was approved, bringing it to a total of N300,370,071,183.33,” he added.

In his remarks, Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, noted that Wike has conscientiously implemented policies and programmes to benefit Rivers people.

He said the revised budget and revised medium term expenditure framework stipulated actions of government to better the fortunes of the state and establish enduring legacy for posterity.