–      Commends legislature, judiciary for ensuring harmony

:The revised 2020 budget of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery, that was signed into law on Wednesday 29th July, 2020, is a well articulated road map that will re-write the fiscal policy of Imo state, herald a glorious dawn, ensure economic liberation of our people and fast-track the shared prosperity agenda of the state government”.

Governor Hope Uzodinma stated this, yesterday at the signing ceremony of the budget at Government House, Owerri. “It is indeed a new dawn, a new day and a new beginning that comes with enormous responsibilities and challenges”.

He thanked the other arms of government especially the legislature for exhibiting team spirit and working harmoniously with the Executive to ensure that the 2020 budget is passed into law. He noted that the  budget was revised downwards because of the fluctuating oil prices that led to the revision of the National MTEF and Nigeria’s agreement with the World Bank to help fund short falls caused by the Covid-19 pandemic through it’s SFTAS (States Fiscal Transparency Accountability for Sustainability) programme.

According to him SFTAS makes certain grants of about twenty (20) million dollars to each state that meets specified conditions. “Some of the conditions include, credible Covid-19 responsive budget that is revised downwards, takes cognizance of Covid-19 related emergency procurements in health, education, agriculture, unemployed youths, vulnerable groups, areas, etc and postponing non-emergency procurements in capital expenditure”. Besides, the 2020 Imo budget “meets some of the SFTAS requirements for this revised budget, which is, that, at least 10% of the total budget must be for Covid-19 related expenses”.

“The 2020 Imo State revised budget is a blue print of action that articulates government’s political, economic and social development programmes, policies and strategies with a view to putting the improved well being of the people on the front burner of governance”.

This he said, “will be achieved through massive reconstruction of dilapidated infrastructure and providing enabling environment for businesses to flourish, ensure sustainable economic development, in addition to encapsulating our vision of a new Imo State that is hinged on freedom, security and shared prosperity are welded into good governance”.

He also averred that his administrations resolve to ensure prudent and judicious disbursement of state funds is sacrosanct. According to the Governor, recurrent expenditure in the approved budget is N91,509,058,587, while the revised recurrent expenditure in the revised budget is N63,419,736,259, which reflects a 30% reduction in the recurrent expenditure.

Capital expenditure in the 2020 approved budget, was N106,283,584,680, while in the 2020 revised budget, is N44,966,099,871, while N6,379,828,253 is provided for the mitigation of the effects of Covid-19 pandemic in the revised 2020 capital expenditure.

The sum of N63,576,043,808 was approved for the economic sector in the 2020 budget, while in the revised 2020 budget, it was reduced to N20,555,468,871 which represents 67.7% reduction. The sun of N2,186,094,528 was earmarked for Covid-19 interventions in the economic sector.

The approved capital expenditure for social services in the 2020 social services sector was N21,139,598,734. This was reduced to N7,190,211,793 in the revised budget, representing 66.9% reduction. The sum of N3,043,134,650 was also earmarked in respect of Covid-19 interventions in the social services sector. Interestingly, all these were captured in the 2020 budget”.

The sum of N17,421,907,270 was the figure for capital expenditure for general administration sector. This was reviewed downwards to N12,971,619,207, representing 25.5% of the capital budget on general administration sector. The sum of N1,150,599,075 is also provided for Covid-19 pandemic in the general administration sector of the budget.

The sum of N4,146,034,868 was approved for General transfer in the 2020 approved capital budget. This was reviewed upwards to N4,248,800.000, representing 2.5% increase in the total provision for government transfers.

“Similarly, the revised 2020 capital expenditure is N44,966,099,871 which is 41% of the revised budget size”.

Governor Uzodinma, further stated that after carefully revewing the 2020 approved budget and considering fall in oil prices, it’s negative impact on the economy of the country, coupled with the pervading Covid-19 pandemic which made the downward review of the 2020 approved budget necessary, the total figure of the revised budget is N108,385,836,130.

Governor Uzodinma stated that, aside publishing the budget in English and Igbo languages for ease of reference, online publications have also been commissioned alongside the first quarter 2020 report on budget performance. This, he said, is inline with his promise to run an open and transparent administration.

He stated that in view of these steps that his administration has taken the state is now qualified to receive the sum of $300,000 USD and $1 million dollars respectively from the World Bank, as encouragement for running an open and transparent government.