Ogun State House of Assembly has played host to the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, preparatory to the consideration for the passage of the 2020 revised budget, which was reduced from N450bn to N280bn, resulting in 38 percent cut recently forwarded to it by the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Consequently, Okubadejo at the parley held at the Assembly Complex, Abeokuta, outlined the steps by the present administration towards implementation of the economic blueprint for the post Covid-19 period, to engender further development in all parts of the State including, reduction in the budget size of some sectors and agencies, in line with the global socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic.
The step, he said was in accordance with the Federal Government’s resolve to also slash its budget and revenue projections, due to the new economic realities and shortfall in oil prices in the global market.
The Commissioner noted that at the national level, the Federal Government had earlier noticed 47.7 percent decline in the economy and ensured 22 percent reduction in oil production, hence, it approved the decrease of the 2020 budget benchmark from $57 to $30 per barrel respectively.
Giving analysis of the State’s budget re-alignment, he intimated the lawmaker that N23.685bn was now being expected as statutory allocation from the Federation Account, as against the former N43bn, while N14.101bn was the expected target from Value Added Tax (VAT) with capital receipts of N108.26bn now being proposed.
Okubadejo, while fielding questions from the lawmakers, ascribed the adjustment in the 2020 Appropriation Law to the ravaging pandemic, saying it has caused a downfall in the nation’s economic index, including the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He assured of more financial management reforms by the State Government to boost revenue drive, stating that the State would strengthen its revenue enforcement team to ensure strict tax compliance and leverage on ICT, as well as ensure sustainability of digital security measures to checkmate revenue leakages.
He added that the State would take more advantage of educational counterpart fund and new revenue drive to finance the education sector, having reduced the sector’s budget from 21 to 15 percent in the proposed budget, with a view to upholding the standard of excellence at all levels of the State educational system.
Consequently, the Assembly therefore passed the bill titled: HB. No. 050/OG/2020- Year 2020 Appropriation (Amendment) Law, 2020 for second reading shortly after the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Kunle Sobukanla moved a motion for its second reading, seconded by Solomon Osho and supported by the Whole House through a voice vote.
The action, according to Assembly, was based on the earlier engagements with the State Commissioner for Finance on the rationale behind the proposed reduction in the 2020 budget .
Responding, Speaker Olakunle Oluomo, while committing the bill to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, underscored the need to speed up the process of redesigning land title for the people to allow property owners enjoy the benefits of holding title documents for all economic or business dealings.
The Assembly also passed a resolution to amend the State Traffic and Enforcement (TRACE) (Amendment), 2007, in view of the need to address the high rate of road accidents in the State.
The passage of the resolution followed a motion moved by a member, representing Odeda State Constituency, Oludaisi Elemide, seconded by Haruna Wahab and supported by entire the lawmakers through a voice vote.
Head, Information Unit, OGHA