COVID-19 may force review of Delta 2020 budget, says Okowa
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday disclosed that the state government may be forced to review the 2020 budget due to the dwindling oil revenue occasioned by the outbreak COVID-19 and its effect on global economy.
Okowa, who hinted that his economic team would take a second look at the budget as a result of the ravaging effects of COVID-19 on oil revenues, also downplayed his alleged senatorial ambition for 2023.
His words: “I definitely have to meet with my economic team. The most reasonable thing to do at the moment is to slow down on capital projects as much as we can and try to do the best we can to encourage contractors who are already working on ongoing projects to remain on site.
“That will require us being able to re-plan the processes of payment to our contractors. Obviously, coronavirus is something the world did not envisage to get to this level.
“And it is particularly worrisome because the worst part of it is that it is not only going to affect the oil economy, it is also going to impact on all aspects of the economy. Even the internally generated revenue is likely going to drop and the family economy will be impacted as well if the coronavirus continues.”
He downplayed his alleged plan to return to the Senate in 2023, stressing that he was focused on keeping his campaign promises and partner with Delta people
“Suggestions towards that should wait till then. There are so many things that I have not done and it is not yet time and not in my thoughts. At the moment, all I’m bothered about is looking for money to provide what I can to Delta people, because that is what I’m elected to do and being paid for,” he stated.
He also absolved the military of complicity in the recent killings at Uwheru in Ughelli North Council Area, blaming the fatalities on Fulani herdsmen.
While fielding questions from journalists in Asaba, Okowa refuted claims that he was treating the herdsmen menace with kid gloves, insisting that the security situation has assumed a national dimension.
He restated the need for the Federal Government to be alive to its responsibilities, as all the security agencies were answerable to President Mohammadu Buhari, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“As for treating herdsmen and farmers clash with kid gloves, it is not exactly as such, as it is difficult to discuss security fully here. But to a large extent, I believe we have been getting results.
“I know that we are going through some difficult times, but there are so many problems that have been resolved in a quiet manner without having to shout about them,” he added.