Bauchi — Bauchi State Government has subjected its proposed estimated N128 billion budget for 2020 fiscal year to public hearing in three geopolitical zones for people's inputs as it plans improved funding for health in response to COVID-19 pandemic situation in the state.
Speaking during the public hearing in Bauchi, State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Dr Aminu Gamawa said that the state government had cut down on some projects and increased spending in some, particularly in the health sector in order to mitigate the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic and other public health concerns.
He explained that the public hearing was organised to get inputs from the public in line with government's policy of inclusiveness, adding that "unfortunately, because of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on global economy, we have no option in Bauchi than to downsize our budget to meet the current realities."
In his remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Yahuza Haruna said that with the dwindling global oil price, it was no longer realistic to fund the government's N167 billion budget, hence its downward review.
"It is in realisation of the reduction in the sources of revenue that Governor Bala Mohammed, in his wisdom, saw the need to review the budget to be in tune with the realities on ground and re-prioritize government activities and programmes", Haruna said
According to him, due to the unexpected socioeconomic hardship being faced by the citizens as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, government is compelled to take monies from other subheads to finance programmes and activities that are COVID- responsive. .
It would be recalled that the estimated Bauchi 2020 budget was about N167 billion but the current estimate now stands at N128 billion, reflecting a downward review of about N39 billion.