Ondo State Government has commenced the review of the year 2020 budget in order to include the emergent expenditures which would ameliorate the effect of the Corona Virus otherwise known as COVID-19 pandemic on the people of the State.
The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan stated this during a consultative meeting on 2020 budget review with the Directors of Local Government Employees, Civil Societies Organizations, Women Organizations, Students Bodies, Non-Governmental Organisations and other stakeholders.
Pastor Igbasan explained that the emergence of COVID-19 has changed virtually all the assumptions used to prepare the year 2020 budget.
According to him, the assumptions include crude oil price which has fallen from $57 to less than $25, exchange rate of $1 to #306 now over #360 to $1, oil production dropped from 2.18mbpd to 1.7mbpd and other varieties have been affected negatively.
He said in order to ameliorate these effects on the people of the State, government through the instrumentality of the 2020 budget review, has decided to come up with a program called ONDO-CARES which is the State's version of the Federal Government COVID-19 response program tagged Nigeria-CARES (N-CARES).
According to the Commissioner, the State Social Investment Program include, Agricultural Advancement Program, Tax incentives put together by the State Internal Revenue Services, Public Workfare- Zero Pot Hole, Environmental Beautification, Engagement of 2000 youths to plant 10 million trees, Soft loan to Small and Medium Enterprises.
Others are Register Databases of all unemployed citizens of the State merged with Kaadi Igbeayo, Information Communications Technology (ICT), Salary Prioritization and Protection, Farmers Mobile Wallet, Aketi Millennium Farmers Initiative among others.
He therefore, appealed to the people of the State to continue to support the present administration in order to enjoy more dividends of democracy.
Earlier in his presentation, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Chief Bunmi Alade said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the need for the State economic managers and policymakers to look beyond Federal Allocation and intensify economic diversification.
Chief Alade urged all Ministries and Extra Ministerial Departments to focus on activities that would reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the populace.
While presenting the framework for the review of 2020 budget, the Director of Budget, Mr. Stephen Aworere said the review would afford government the opportunity to prepare a realistic budget for the year.
The Stakeholders commended the Akeredolu-led administration for the initiative to review the budget with a view to meeting the aspirations of the citizens.