By David-Chyddy Eleke
The fall in the global prices of oil as occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic has forced the Anambra State Government to review its budget for 2020.
The state Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mr Mark Okoye, announced that the state government reduced its 2020 budget by about 16 per cent.
The budget was revised from N137.1 billion down to N112.8 billion, representing a reduction of about N24.3 billion from its original size for the year.
The revised total revenue, the commissioner said in a virtual budget session presided over by him, represents a drop of 29 per cent from the projected N158.6 billion to N112.8 billion.
He said part of what necessitated the review was the fall in crude oil prices.
Okoye said: “A breakdown shows that recurrent expenditure will decline by 18.9 per cent from an initial N58.8 billion to N47.7 billion, while total capital expenditure had been reduced by 16.9 per cent from N78.4 billion to N65.1 billion.
“The review became necessary in view of the raging coronavirus pandemic across the country and the world.”
He added that the budgets of critical sectors like health, water and sanitation were left untouched to ensure that there would be a buffer to contain Covid-19 outbreaks and associated social distancing and economic fallout.
Okoye drew special attention to key underlying guidelines during the 2020 Budget revision, affirming that non-essential items in the budget have either been reduced or stripped from MDAs capital expenditure budget.
He stressed that the reduction on some non-essential approved budget lines was to position the state against post Covid-19 shocks on the back of declining government revenues and receipts.
Okoye emphasised that provisions have also been made for cash transfers and livelihood support to the poor and vulnerable households in light of current economic realities, increase food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for all residents of the state.