By Martha Agas
Jos – Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, on Wednesday, assented the revised 2020 budget tagged ”Budget of Rescue and Infrastructural Consolidation” at the Government House, Jos.
Lalong, at the event, directed the Ministry of Finance and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure strict and effective implementation of the budget, in line with extant financial regulations.
The governor said that the budget, which was previously more than N177 billion, was reviewed in line with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic to N122 billion for the 2020 fiscal year.
“For us as a state, the impact has been huge, as our earnings have drastically fallen even in the face of demands for funds to carry out our statutory responsibilities and also respond to the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“That is why we engaged in cost cutting measures to enable us manage the lean resources efficiently and also try to fulfil our most basic responsibilities of providing services to our citizens,” he said.
Lalong reiterated the commitment of his administration to be effective in the judicious use of the state resources , to address the most critical areas in the state.
“With the appointment of a reputable revenue collection firm, we shall redouble our efforts toward improving our revenue targets, especially the Internally Generated Revenue, which is crucial to funding the 2020 budget.
“We shall continue to strengthen the work of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Efficiency Unit, Bureau for Public Procurement, Liquidity Management Committee, as well as the Project Monitoring and Result Delivery Unit (PMRDU), to ensure that we maximize our resources and eliminate wastages,”the governor said.
He assured the legislature that the executive would cooperate with them on their oversight duties of ensuring that the budget was implemented as planned for the well being of Plateau people.
The governor said that efforts were being made to ensure the early preparation and presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the State Assembly by September,
Laglong said this was in compliance with the State fiscal, transparency, accountability and sustainability programme.
Earlier, Mr Slyvester Wallangko, the Commisioner for Budget and Planning, said that the rationale of the revised budget was to re-allocate the state meagre resources to the most critical policies and programmes, to reduce the economic burden of the pandemic.
He said that the budget was reviewed not to only incorporate the combat of COVID-19 but other life-threatening disease outbreak in the state
The commissioner said that the budget, which would be sourced from Internally Generated Revenue, Statutory Revenue Allocation and Capital receipts, had a deficit of N21.7 million.
“This deficit will be financed from loans, both from internal and external resources, as the need arises,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the revised budget was passed on June 30.