The Delta State Government has slashed its 2020 budget from N395.4 billion to N279.8 billion in line with harsh economic realities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a letter of Amendment Bill and Schedules of the Revised Budget by state governor Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to the state House of Assembly.
Speaker of the House Sheriff Oborevwori read the letter at the floor of the House during plenary on Tuesday when the revised budget size also passed its second legislative reading after the House adopted it for consideration.
The amendment bill was referred to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation for further legislative action.
The proposed revised 2020 budget is made up of N152.7 billion in recurrent expenditure and N127.1 billion in capital expenditure.
Okowa explained in the letter that the new financial framework is a 11.13 per cent decrease from the earlier approved N172 billion recurrent expenditure budget, while the capital budget of N223 billion was reduced by 40.09 percent.
The governor stated that the earlier sum was hinged on macro economic and financial projections usually relied upon by government for budgetary purposes.
He regretted that the macro economic and financial indices can no longer be relied on for funding of the 2020 budget due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic which has triggered a sharp drop in the price of crude oil and a slide in the exchange rate with the attendant negative effect on the revenue accruable to government.
The governor said the new budget is a 29.25 percent drop from the earlier approved 2020 budget of N395.4 billion.
Leading debate on the proposed revised budget, Majority Leader Tim Owhefere described the development as unpalatable due to the inauspicious social and economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Owhefere, who represents Isoko North Constituency, noted that more than 77 per cent of the funding of 2020 budget was projected on oil revenue, but regretted that the price of crude oil has crashed to an unbearable level.
He stressed that the state government can no longer finance the budget as approved, hence the need to downsize in line with the prevailing economic tides forced on it by exigencies brought about by the global plague.
Other lawmakers who contributed commended Governor Okowa for being proactive in the governance of the state, maintaining that the proposed revised budget was expected.