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COVID-19: Umahi reduces 2020 budget to N131.87bn

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Governor David Umahi, Wednesday reduced the N178.36 billion for the state 2020 budget estimate to N131.87 billion following the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Ebonyi state.

Umahi made this known while addressing stakeholders during the COVID-19 response, revised 2020 citizens budget inputs/ consultative meeting at Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki.

According to the state Governor, the 2020 budget estimate has been reviewed downward by twenty-six percent to cushion the effect of the dwindling state revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

He affirmed that the reduction in the 2020 budget caused by COVID-19 would not affect the payment of salaries to civil servants and pension to pensioners in the state.

He also assured Ebonyi people that his administration would not abandone any project before the expiration of his tenure no matter the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

In his words, “the total COVID-19 crisis management capital expenditure is N15, 235, 000, 000.

“Ebonyi State Government has not obtained any domestic loans different from the internal loans offered by the Federal Government to resurrect the economy out of recession in 2016.

“Ebonyi is mindful of not plunging the State into debts and we will not do so.

“The contractors’ debts here are only on retention which is about N600m. Any contractor that has completed any project and is owed in Ebonyi State should publish it in any national newspaper for public attention.

“Ebonyi State as at today owes no contractor for any completed projects other than retention, which will be paid when defects liability period is reached, and notices defects corrected by the contractor. In a nutshell, we are not owing any contractor in the State.

“The ring road that will be embarked upon, runs through 7 Local Government Areas of Ebonyi North and Central Senatorial zones. This project of which we have paid our 25% counterpart funding by constructing 31Km of the road mostly on 8” thick concrete pavement, is remaining 147km of road to be financed with a $150m loan.

“The loan has been approved and domiciled in CBN. The processes of international bidding for the award of contracts are ongoing and hopefully, the eight segments of the road contracts shall be awarded before September 2020.

“The entire road designs are being reviewed to see that concrete pavement be used because of frequent failures of flexible pavement in Ebonyi State. The savings from this fund will be used to construct more internal roads within the benefitting communities and also perform other social responsibilities to the host communities.

“The economic activities in Ebonyi State shall increase through agriculture, mining, trade, factories and industries among others.”

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