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Delta 2021 budget to address COVID-19 challenges ~Festus Ahon

Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Barry Gbe, Wednesday said the 2021 budget of the State was carefully formulated and designed to address the challenges and resultant impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, targeted at bringing the businesses and sources of family livelihood back to life.

Gbe who stated this while giving the overall performance of the 2020 budget as a background to the outlook to the sectoral breakdown of the 2021 budget size of N383 billion, said about N2 billion was expended in the payment of allowances to frontline workers as incentive in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

He said the figure shot the total amount spent on personnel cost between January and September, 2020 to N64.85 billion, representing a performance of 103.31% in the budget of the outgoing year, adding that the sum of N62.17 billion was initially budgeted as personnel cost.

He explained that between January and September, 2020, the State recorded a total revenue of N190.3 out of the proportionate revenue of N211.7 billion representing 88.87%.

On expenditure, he said a total of N152.8 billion was spent out of the proportionate budget of N211.7 billion representing an overall performance of 72.15%.

Gbe said the 2021 budget christened ‘Budget of Recovery’ was to fast track the pace of “our economic recovery, boost economic diversification and ensure social inclusion.

“The budget was carefully formulated and designed to address the challenges and resultant impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, targeted at bringing the businesses and sources of family livelihood back to life.”

The State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Fidelis Tilije while answering questions from newsmen on the debt profile of the state, put the current debt at N207 billion.

Tilije said the present administration was comfortable with the present debt profile, explaining that Delta was the least indebted state, having be rated 8% debt ratio by the Debt Management Office, DMO.

He said the implication was that the state was free from every encumbrances to borrow to fund projects, adding that the present seal by the Federal Ministry of Finance for states to borrow was 20% debt ratio based on a reduction from 40% as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu who coordinated the briefing, said the 2021 budget breakdown was for the people to understand the economic policies of the state government in the coming year.

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