The Rivers State Government says it has scaled down its 2020 budget by 48 per cent, bringing it down from N530. 8Bn to N300.4Bn. The scaled-down budget which was endorsed on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, by the state executive council, is expected to head to the House of Assembly for legislative endorsement.
The state executive council told newsmen after the meeting the scaling down was in line with the present economic realities occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
The State Commissioner for Finance and Supervisory Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Isaac Kamalu, announced this while briefing journalists after the State Executive Council Meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Kamalu stated that the Rivers State Executive Council also gave approval for the review of the 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, accommodating a downsizing of the budget. He pointed out that the decision was taken in consideration of all necessary parameters geared towards offering the state purposeful service and effective leadership.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Transport, Sunny Ejekwu, said the Rivers State Executive Council also approved a free bus scheme with a fleet of 28 luxury buses to convey commuters free of charge during this COVID-19 period. The luxury buses had been parked at the front of the seat of power for years.
The commissioner said the scheme would start from Monday, June 1,2020, and added that it is part of measures introduced by government to ameliorate the sufferings faced by those living and doing business in the state.
Ejekwu announced that the free buses would convey commuters in Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Eleme and Oyigbo local council areas.
The Commissioner also stated that wearing of facemasks would be a compulsory requirement for any commuter who would want to enjoy the free service.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, announced the setting up of an Executive Council Committee to work out modalities that would outline conditions that would be met by those who intend to bury their loved ones during this period.
According to him, the Committee is headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Tammy Danagogo; while the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Zaccheus Adangor, Commissioner for Special Duties, Thomas Bariere; Commissioner for Youths, Prince Ohia and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, Dax Kelly, were to serve as members.