Education, public finance and health sectors received the highest allocations in the Ondo state 2020 revised budget.
Ondo State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan declared this while briefing newsmen on the budget breakdown in Akure.
Igbasan noted that the review of the 2020 budget was unavoidably necessary since COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted on people’s lives and the state economy, consequently on revenue generation vis a vis capacity.
It would be recalled that the State House of Assembly had approved a budget of N187.859 billion late last year for the year 2020 fiscal year but as a result of the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, nation’s economy, the budget was reviewed downward and a sum of 151.438 billion naira was approved this year.
In the revised budget, education maintains top spot with a total of N27.725 billion, N26.760 billionis allocated for public finance, health N19.068 billion while N17.604 billion for Infrastructural Development.
Igbasan disclosed that the budget was people’s focused, therefore, “no essential expenditure were exempted”, adding that only projects that could be delivered before the end of the year were prioritised.
He also noted that while many aspects of recurrent expenditure were reviewed downward to match the current realities, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu insisted that salaries and wages,grants and contributions such as gratuity and pensions must be protected.
He highlighted the objectives of the revised budget to include: to curb the spread of COVID-19 and cushion its effects in the state, to rejig the economy, to create efficiency in personnel and overhead expenditure, to create employment through the establishment of public workforce programmes, to broaden the security network across the state and to reform the public sector.
The key projects in the 2020 Revised Appropriation law include CBN support facility, improved healthcare delivery system through Contributory Health-Insurance Scheme, free healthcare and people living with disabilities; zero pot holes through Public Work Department; construction of costal road from Araromi in Ilaje to Lekki, Lagos state.
Other key projects are Clean Ondo initiatives (Open defecation free Ondo state) and various agricultural projects to affect about 500,000 farmers (CACS, LIFE-ND AADS).
Some COVID-19 response projects in the revised budgets are special intervention in agriculture, livestock productivity and resilience support to youth engagement in livestock production, Ondo state COVID-19 action response and economic stimulus, infectious diseases hospitals in Akure, Ikare, Ondo and Odigbo and Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19
Also speaking at the briefing, the Chairman Ondo State Internal Revenue Service, ODIRS, Tolu Adegbie said that the review of the budget was not only done by Ondo state but all states and countries in the world in order to meet the realities of the current coronavirus pandemic.
He disclosed that the state had introduced new measures to ensure the revenue of the state is sustained such as online payments of taxes and rates, adding that renewal of driver’s licence could be done online.