BY: Judex Okoro, Daily Sun

Cross River State Government has begun consultations with relevant stakeholders on planned amendment of 2020 budget.

Commissioner for Finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong, who disclosed this during a Citizen Budget Forum in Calabar, said at a time the world is facing economic downturn, occasioned by coronavirus pandemic, the State Government is once again being proactive.

Describing Governor Ben Ayade as a leader, who cares for the socio-economic wellbeing of the people by thinking outside the box, Ekpenyong said modalities have been put in place for the revision of the budget in line with the current economic realities.

To achieve success, all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) would be integrated into the ongoing discussions on the budget amendment, calling on MDAs to look into their core mandates to ascertain areas to focus on and possible budgetary amendment as it relates to COVID-19 response.

Ekpenyong said in re-engineering the economy, the State will operate within the new reality by fixing priority to digitalisation, business environment reforms, improved economy and diversification of revenue sources.

The Commissioner said to achieve this, expenditures would be pruned down and specifically channelled into food security, safety net mechanism and economic stimulus as well as ensuring public safety and well-being.

Earlier, Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget, Abeng Onoh, recalled that even before the outbreak, the outlook for the State’s economy in particular, and especially, Nigeria and developing countries, was fragile as GDP growth was estimated to be only 2.5 percent in 2020.

He said the budget review is expected to be sent to the State’s lawmakers very soon.

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