Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has signed into law the revised 2020 Appropriation Bill.
A report by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed that this followed the presentation of the Budget by the Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, to him at Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday, August 3, 2020.
Total figure of the revised budget for 2020 fiscal year signed by the Governor is N300,370,071,183.33 Billion.
It is a 48 percent reduction from the N530,813,357,619.00Billion originally budgeted for spending.
Governor Wike said the unfortunate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in Nigeria, necessitated the review.
The implication of the review of the budget, according to him, is that budgetary allocations including capital and recurrent expenditure have been reduced.
However, this, he said, will 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 calls for us to face the economic reality.
“The COVID-19 has affected economic activities and revenues of government, and so it became 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 percent 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 is 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,” he stated.
The Governor promised to release the balance of funds for the 2018 constituency projects of the legislators.
Also speaking, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Martin 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 sum-N530,813,357,619.00 Billion 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 billion for capital expenditure.
For the recurrent expenditure, N129,336,662,028.77 billion bringing a total of N300,370,071,183.33 Billion,” he added.
In his remarks, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani noted that governor Wike has conscientiously implemented policies and programmes to benefit Rivers people.
He said the revised budget and revised medium term expenditure framework stipulate actions of government to better the fortunes of the state and establish enduring legacy for posterity.