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Pandemic may force Bauchi to slash budget by 50%

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Plateau laments illegal migration into state, isolates 35 lockdown violators for 14 days
Bauchi State Government has concluded plans to cut the 2020 budget downward by about 50 per cent over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Aminu Gamawa, told the press yesterday that the development was as a result of the fall in global oil price caused by COVID-19.

He said, “The 2020 budget was signed by His Excellency in December 2019. Unfortunately, there was a break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which destabilised the world economy. All the assumptions we made on revenue that should come to the state in the budget has changed,” he said.

He said that crude oil – the cash cow of the nation – had fallen and might dip further, citing Canada and United States where the price of crude had fallen to nothing.

Bauchi had budgeted N167 billion for 2020, with 60 per cent as capital expenditure and 40 per cent as recurrent spending.

According to him, the current price of Nigerian oil is below $20 per barrel, a situation he described as critical for the country.

“The projection we had made that the oil price would be $57 per barrel is no longer feasible. This means that there would be shortage of revenue in the state. We have proposed to the State Executive Council on the need to review our budget to be more realistic, and it approved the proposal,” he added.

Gamawa said Governor Bala Mohammed had ordered the Accountant General to open a stabilisation account where the state could save some money for the rainy day.

Meanwhile, the Plateau State Government has lamented the influx of people through illegal routes into the state despite the closure of all exist and entry points.

However, the mobile courts yesterday ordered that 35 persons arrested for violating the lockdown order be kept in Isolation centre for 14 days.

The 35 persons arraigned before the West of Mines and Bukuru mobile courts were arrested at Riyom entry point about 9.30p.m. on Tuesday while attempting to enter the state capital in five commercial vehicles.

On interrogation, they told the courts that they were from Lagos and Edo states, but on transit to Adamawa. They further claimed ignorance of the lockdown in Plateau.

The magistrate, Rita Selkur, therefore directed that the 12 who appeared before her should be kept at Mangu Isolation Centre for 14 days to ascertain their health status. Twenty-one others who appeared before a similar court in Bukuru also got the same judgement.

Speaking with journalists, the Commissioner for Information, Daniel Majang, who said no fewer than 149 violators of the lockdown order had been sent to isolation centres, frowned on the rate at which people entered the state despite the closure of borders.


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