Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has signed into law, the revised appropriation bill of N114.9 billion for the year 2020. The budget themed, ‘’Accelerating Infrastructural Development and Youth Entrepreneurship’’ it has a total reduction of N22.2bn from the original budget of N137.1bn, translating to a 16 percent reduction.
The budget originally approved by the State House of Assembly on October 25th, 2019, was earlier assented to by Obiano on November 8th, 2019. At the State Executive Council Chambers, Governor’s Lodge, Awka, Obiano said the revision became necessary following the pandemic which brought about a fall in revenue and the national and state-wide lockdown of businesses. This development, he said, has forced Federal and State Governments to review approved budgets downwards in line with the expected reductions in revenue.
Despite the significant reduction in the current expenditure estimates, Obiano has kept faith by ensuring that minimal reductions were made in the personnel budget. Bulk of the reduction was made on non-critical personnel and overhead costs, however, overhead and personnel costs for MDAs in the health sector were not reduced as they are central to the state’s COVID-19 response.
Clarifying further, Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mark Okoye, said the downward revision was due to financial risks arising from the emerging global economic crisis, especially the fall in the prices of oil at the international market, cut in production and low demand caused by lock-down with attendant effects on the economy and consequent reductions in federal allocations to states and local governments.
The revised budget, he affirmed, is in sync with the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) program, part of a broader emergency intervention which begins next year, to protect livelihoods and food security of poor and vulnerable families and facilitate recovery of local economic activity in all participating states across Nigeria while aligning with the States Fiscal Transparency Accountability for Sustainability (SFTAS) requirements which avails states certain grants, if they meet specified conditions, including that COVID-19 related expenses must be at least 10 percent of the total budget.