The proposed revised budget of the Delta state government for the 2020 financial year has passed second reading on the floor of the state House of Assembly.

The  total budget of the state for 2020 fiscal year is now #279,784,088,045.00  (Two hundred and seventy nine billion,  seven hundred and eighty four million,  eighty eight thousand and forty five naira ) only, of the earlier approved budget of  #395, 475,393, 669.00 ( Three Hundred and Ninety five billion,  four hundred and seventy five million, three hundred and ninety three thousand, six hundred and sixty nine naira), only. 

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s letter conveying the Amendment bill and schedules of the revised budget to the state legislature was read at Tuesday’s  plenary by the Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori  and adopted for further consideration.

” The proposed revised 2020  budget of #279,784,088,045.00 ( Two hundred and seventy nine billion,  seven hundred and eighty four million,  eighty eight thousand and forty five naira ) only, is made up of the sum of  #152,697,946,472.00 ( One Hundred and fifty two billion,  six hundred and ninety seven million,  nine hundred and forty six thousand,  four hundred and seventy two naira) only, for Recurrent expenditure and the sum of  #127,086,141,573.00 (One hundred and forty one thousand,  five hundred and seventy three naira) only, for Capital Expenditure”, the Governor wrote. 

Governor Okowa in the letter explained that the new financial framework has eleven point thirteen percent decrease from the earlier approved one hundred and seventy two billion naira recurrent expenditure budget, while the capital budget of two hundred and twenty three billion naira was reduced by forty three point zero nine percent.

The Governor said that the 2020 Appropriation was  hinged on some macro economic and financial projections, but regretted that the macro economic and financial indices can no longer be relied upon for the  funding of the 2020 budget due to the raging  COVID -19 pandemic, saying it has triggered a sharp drop in the price of crude oil and slide in the  exchange rate with its attendant negative effect on revenue accurable to Government. 

The Governor said the new budget of the state which now stands at two hundred and seventy nine point eight billion naira, is twenty nine point two five percent drop from the earlier approved 2020 budget of three hundred and ninety five point four billion naira.

The Majority Leader, Hon Tim Owhefere, in a motion, moved for the suspension of order twelve, rules 77, 78 and 79 to enable the house take the second reading of the bill and was unanimously adopted.

Leading debate on the proposed revised budget, Hon Owhefere who represents Isoko North in the House, described the development as a non palatable one as no one had envisaged the attack by  Coronavirus.

The Majority Leader noted that more than seventy seven percent of the funding of 2020 budget was projected on oil revenue, but regretted that the price of crude oil has crashed to unbearable level.

Hon Owhefere stressed that the state government can no longer finance the budget as approved, hence the need to downsize in line with the economic tides forced on it by exigencies brought about by Covid- 19 pandemic. 

The Lawmaker emphasized that the Executive and Legislative arms of the state government will continue to put intelligence together to find the  best way out of the present realities, stressing that the entire world is not at peace.

In their contributions, the Deputy Majority Leader, Oboro Preyor, Chief Whip, Pat Ajudua, Deputy Chief Whip, Solomon Ighrakpata, Majority Whip, Festus Okoh, Emeka Nwaobi, Aniocha North, Charles Oniyere, Ughelli North 1 and Ekpotuareyin Pullah, Burutu 2,  commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his proactiveness to governance.

The lawmakers maintained that the proposed revised budget was expected following the continued fall in oil benchmark in the international markets occasioned by the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.

They  said the entire world is not at peace as a result of the virus, stressing that states must find a way out of the global economic threats.

The motion for the second reading of the bill for the proposed revised budget as moved by the Majority Leader was unanimously adopted.

The Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori  referred the bill to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation for further legislative actions.