By Dikachi Franklin, in Owerri
The executive council of the government of Imo State has approved the downward revised 2020 supplementary budget of ₦89 billion. It was initially N140 billion.
Following the approval the revised proposal will now be transmitted to the Imo State House of Assembly within seven days for consideration and approval by the house.
Former member of the Imo House of Assembly and now commissioner for infornation and strategy, Declan Emelumba, said it was part of the decisions taken at the executive council meeting held at the Sam Mbakwe Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Owerri, and presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
He said government decided to reduce the supplementary budget in order to have it reflect the economic realities of the moment.
Emelumba stated that the federal allocation and the state’s internally generated revenue have been negatively affected by the economic crunch made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the nation’s oil revenue.
He revealed also that the recurrent revenue was reduced by 40 percent, from ₦32 billion to 19.6 billion but the personnel cost was increased from ₦8.9 billion to ₦9.7 billion, whereas subventions were reduced by 47 percent, that is from ₦33.8 billion to ₦17.8 billion.
Emelumba stressed that the objective was to enable the Imo State government fund its projects effectively through IGR, saying that what the state wanted to do was to harness all her sources from IGR base.
He also explained that the meeting warned all land speculators to be wary and careful of land buying and selling as government insisted on embarking on re-certification exercise of all existing Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), noting that the process would soon be made public for claims and evidences where genuine land owners would be issued new C of Os.
Emelumba said that the council reiterated the determination of government to reopen schools, especially for the students that would be sitting for the West African School Certificate Examinations, and that government would soon set up a committee of stakeholders in the education sector, including parents teachers association, to work out the modalities necessary for the reopening of schools in line with the safety protocols of COVID-19.
For a start government would soon embark on the fumigation of schools involved in the reopening as one of the COVID-19 protocols, he said.
He also informed about the government determination to implement the ethics of the civil service which demand that all those working for government must imbibe the ethics of dignity and integrity.
To achieve that, he said all civil and public servants who were not ready to be on the same page with government must look elsewhere and or change their attitude to allow the system function properly.
Chuk Chukwuemeka, the commissioner for finance, added that the revised supplementary budget proposal must be passed this month to enable Imo State benefit from a World Bank multi-million dollar intervention free fund called States Fiscal Accountability and Transparency and Sustainability Funds (SAFTAS) for 2020 which Imo State was not lucky enough to benefit in 2019 because of late passage of the 2019 budget.
Chukuemeka further said the essence of the revised budget was to incorporate the necessary procurement procedure and to allow government embark on the provision of necessary facilities that would cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic in the post-COVID-19 phase and provide improved welfare to Imo people.