Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, on Tuesday, wrote the State House Assembly and requested for a downward review of 2020 budget from N177.3 billion to N99.9 billion.
Lalong in a letter read on the floor of the House by the Majority Leader and Member representing Mikang Constituency, Hon. Daniel Naanlong, said that the review became necessary because of the current realities caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor said that the coronavirus disease had adversely affected the sources of revenue of the state and hence the implementation of the budget.
“From the reviewed figure of N99.9 billion, the sum of N76. 9 billion is meant for recurrent while N22.97 billion is for capital expenditure.
“I have forwarded 30 copies of the reviewed budget for your consideration and passage into law,” he said.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Abok Ayuba said that a letter was earlier received from the executive requesting the House Committee on Appropriation to join them in the review of the budget.
He said that there was a need for quick passage of the bill considering the time of the year and that the committee on behalf of the House made some inputs.
“Let us see reasons to speedily pass the budget as we are in a serious situation that is ravaging the state.
“In this kind of situation, recurrent needs to be on the increase to save the lives of the people before capital development.
“Having passed the second reading, the budget would be committed to Committee on Appropriation to look at the budget and report back to tomorrow being Wednesday,” he said.
Hon. Yahaya Adamu, Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation said that the committee had discussed the issues in the budget at length with the executive considering the time frame.
“We have to hasten up since July is almost ending,” he said.
Hon. Nanbol Daniel, (PDP, Langtang North Central) observed that in as much as the pandemic has ravaged the economy, things should be done rightly.
Daniel, who is the House Committee Chairman on Health, said that the budget was out of track as the recurrent was far more than the capital expenditure.
“We are looking at a budget of N99.9 billion and only recurrent is taking over N76 billion.
“What are we planning for the future of our youths with this kind of budget,” he asked.
He said that key areas including those of health were not considered in the reviewed budget.
Hon. Gwottson Fom, (PDP, Jos South State Constituency) corroborated Daniel saying that the budget did not consider the future of children.
Saga Gist recalls that Governor Lalong had three months ago following the advice of the State Economic Team, informed citizens that this year’s budget would be reduced by 40% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.