By Okon Bassey
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has amended the 2020 budget of the state from initial N597.7 billion to N366 billion, saying the decision is to meet up with the economic challenges due to coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
Also, the House explained that the amendment and passing of the budget into law carried out at Thursday’s plenary was sequel to a letter sent by the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to the Assembly during its emergency plenary.
Briefing newsmen after the plenary, the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation and Finance, Mr Uduak Ududoh, said the recurrent expenditure of N111.22 billion earlier approved for 2020 budget has been reduced to N98.22 billion.
He added that the capital expenditure, which stood at N369.10 billion has been reduced to 186.94 billion, while the consolidated revenue charges now stood at N80.83 billion as against N116.93 billion.
Ududoh explained that the total budget size approved for 2020, which was N597.7 billion has now been reduced to N366 billion for the 2020 fiscal year, representing 38.8 per cent reduction.
The Speaker, Mr Aniekan Bassey, who presided over the plenary, said that the step taken by the governor to review the 2020 budget downward was very timely as a result of the economic recession experienced all over the world.
He commended the governor for setting up relevant committees to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The bill had earlier passed through the first, second and third reading and was passed into law after due consideration at the Committee of Supply, chaired by the Speaker.
The House Leader, Mr Udo Kierian, in his contribution, said that the fall in crude oil price in the international market has a negative effect on the 2020 budget, stressing that was the reason for the review.
Meanwhile, the House has adjourned plenary after the review of the budget and will reconvene on May 7, 2020.