Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Benue Govt. slashes 2020 budget by N70b as Consultant faults budget reduction

By Godwin Akor, Makurdi

Due to the current economic realities and the impending recession caused by Coronavirus pandemic, the Benue State Government wednesday  reduced. 2020 Budget from N189 billion.

Disclosing this at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi, while briefing journalists shortly after a meeting of the State Executive Council, Governor Samuel Ortom explained that the downward review of the budget which is to be forwarded to the Benue State House of Assembly became imperative following International Monetary Fund, IMF’s projection of a recession in Nigeria would force a contraction of the country’s economy by 3.4 percent..

Governor Ortom said as part of measures to mitigate the negative effect of the looming recession, Benue has resolved to take advantage of its rich agricultural potentials by going into increased food production not only for consumption but also for commercial purposes.

READ ALSO:https://www.thexpressng.com/2020/04/16/covid-19-kwara-discharges-seven-negative-cases/

Towards this end, the constitution committee known as Agricultural Value Chain, Review and Development Cooperation Committee, with the Governor as Chairman and his Deputy, Engineer Benson Abounu as Vice Chairman, while some members of the State Executive Council are members with selected experts.

He identified massive land clearing and cultivation of arable lands in all parts of the state as some of the measures against the anticipated recession and called on every Benue person to return to farming to make food security a priority and take advantage of the agriculture value chain.

On the fight against Coronavirus, Governor Ortom said the State Government has extended the dusk to dawn curfew and the closure of markets, as well as other preventive measures against COVID-19 by two weeks.

He stressed that though no new case of the virus has been found in the state even after the doctor who handled the index case, his staff and the 23 other persons went into self isolation, it was important that Benue people remain vigilant and strictly adhere to preventive measures such as frequent hand washing, the use of alcohol-based sanitizers and social distancing.

The governor who expressed the preparedness of the state against the spread of COVID-19, commended members of the State Action Committee for a job  well done. 

He informed the media that samples of the young man in Gungul in Konsisha Local Government Area who fell sick had been taken to Abuja for COVID-19 test.

Reacting to the slashing of the budget, Mr Agbo said slashing of Benue state’s 2020 budget from N189 billion to N119 billion due to impending economic recession may not mean anything to the citizenry who have not witnessed proper implementation of yearly budgets in the past five years.

The former chairman of Ado local government and management consultant said in the past five years, Benue state has not generated up to N800 billion in a year, so the 2020 budget of N189 billion was a mockery of the system.

He said since the previous budgets were not of benefit to the people, they did not expect that the one of 2020 would be different.

He said as usual, the people would embark on agriculture in order to survive, adding that they should be given fertilizer and other inputs to make agricultural practice more meaningful.

READ ALSO:https://www.thexpressng.com/2020/04/16/south-west-pdp-group-questions-fayemis-covid-19-food-items-to-sen-olujimi/

Abo advised government to intensify revenue generation and asked the people to, on their own, prepare for the unknown like they have been doing.

He faulted the state government’s presentation of N189 billion, pointing out that if an oil producing state like Bayelsa would budget N200 billion, why would Benue budget not be almost N200 billion.