…also reviews MTEF
Rivers state government, like the national government, Nigeria, has undertaken a 48 percent downward review of its 2020 state budget. The budget has moved from the initial N530.813 billion (530,813,357,619.00) to N300.370 billion (300,370,071,183.00).
The state government said the move is in line with the present economic realities occasioned by the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
Isaac Kamalu, the commissioner for finance and supervisory commissioner for budget and economic planning, announced late Wednesday in Port Harcourt after a lengthy state executive council meeting presided by Governor Nyesom Wike at Government House, Port Harcourt that the council also approved the review of the state’s 2020 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF), to accommodate a downsizing of the budget.
He said the decision was taken in consideration of all necessary parameters geared towards offering the state a purposeful service and effective leadership.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Transport, Sunny Ejekwu said the state executive council also approved a free bus scheme with a fleet of 28 luxury buses to convey commuters free of charge during the COVID-19 period.
He said the free transport scheme would commence on June 1, as part of measures introduced by the government to ameliorate the sufferings faced by those living and doing business in the state.
Ejekwu announced that the buses would convey commuters in the Port Harcourt metropolis comprising four local government areas: Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt Municipality, Eleme and Oyigbo.
Incidentally, the entire area had been under a crippling six-week lockdown instituted by Governor Wike, which had received wide criticisms from not a few, especially as it locked-in Port Harcourt, the state’s key city and Nigeria’s oil capital.
Apparently acquiesced to wide pressures and alleged threat from the central government of instituting a state of emergency on the state, Governor Wike in a latest broadcast, cancelled the lockdown resumption, replacing it with an 8.pm to 6.am curfew.
The commissioner also stated that movements around the state beginning from June 1 would involve a compulsory wearing of facemasks by all commuters, especially those who would want to use the free bus service.
Paulinus Nsirim, the commissioner for Information and Communications, said the state executive council has set up committee to work out modalities to outline burials in the state during the period of absence of lockdown.
According to him, the committee is headed by the secretary to the state government (SSG), Tammy Danagogo, while the Attorney General and commissioner for Justice, Zacchaeus Adangor, commissioner for special duties, Thomas Bariere, commissioner for Youths, Prince Ohia and the special adviser to the Governor on special projects, Dax Kelly, are to serve as members.