COVID-19: Sokoto Reviews 2020 Budget, Approves Palliatives for Health Workers, Citizens

Waziri Tambuwal

By Onuminya Innocent

Sokoto State Government said it had reviewed downward the 2020 budget considering the dwindling revenue and shortfall in the federal allocation accruable to the state as a result of coronavirus and global economic crisis.

Briefing journalists after the State Executive Council meeting presided by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Commissioner for Finance Abdussamad Dasuki, said the budget had been reviewed downward by 25 percent in view of recent global economic crisis.

“You will recall that the state budgeted N202 billion for 2020 fiscal year but the budget figure now stands at N153 billion to make it realistic”, Dasuki said .

He further added that the Exco had approved that 60 percent of the internally generated revenue from admission and fees in the ten tertiary institutions in the state should be retained by the institutions while 40 percent should go to the state coffer.

The commissioner alo noted with concern the delay in the completion of Deputy Governor’s residence despite the fact that more than 50 percent of the contract fee had been paid to the contractor.

Dasuki disclosed that the contract was awarded at the cost of N484million and the government had paid N245million to the contractor. He said to their dismay the work was just at 35 percent completed, saying the contractor has absconded for over a year now.

He however said the state government had revoked the contract and had directed the ministry of finance and justice to take on the contractor.

Also briefing newsmen, the Commissioner for Water Resources Muhammad Umar Bature said to cushion the effect of Coronavirus the state government had directed that all the water consumers in the state will not pay water bill for the month of April and May.

On his part, the Commissioner for Health Dr Ali Inname disclosed that as a measure to motivate the health workers in the state, government has approved palliatives for all the health workers by increasing their hazard allowance by 100 per cent for the month of April and May.

He averred that those in the frontline of screening and COVID-19 Rapid Respond Team would be paid 100 per cent weekly allowance considering the risk they encounter.

Dr Inname explained that contract for the state diagnostic centre at Farfaru was at the verge of completion noting however that there is poor counterpart funding by the 23 local government areas in the state.

Also the Commissioner for Land and Housing Sirajo Marafa said the state had approved the relocation of traders along Moreh Illela road to enable the contractor handling the dualisation of the road commence work.

He stated that the government was working out modalities for the compensation of affected persons.