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Bayelsa Governor, Douye Diri, reduce state’s 2020 budget by 24 percent

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The Bayelsa Governor, Douye Diri, has cut the state’s 2020 budget by 24 percent.

The bill, which was N242bn, has been cut to N183bn.

Governor Diri said that the decision was reached following a drop in monthly revenue occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking at a Public Forum to review the 2020 Consolidation for Prosperity Budget in Yenagoa.

He said the anticipated projections of the initial budget had to be re-evaluated to reflect the current realities of the global economic downturn occasioned by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 challenge.

He also noted that the sharp drop in the international price of crude oil from $55 per barrel benchmark to $20 crippled the country’s economy that is largely dependent on proceeds from oil.

According to the governor, all the parameters used in the previous budget, which was presented to the state assembly on April 22, had been overtaken by the effects of the health crisis.

“The 2020 Consolidation for Prosperity Budget was passed with certain assumptions that have been negatively altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The effect of the global lockdown has resulted in low demand for crude oil, which is Nigeria’s major earner. The price of oil dropped to as low as $20 per barrel in some months as against the $55 per barrel benchmark.

“Consequently, there is need to revise the budget to face the existing realities. The proposed budget size is now N183.16billion as against N242.19billion that was in the original budget”, Governor Diri added.

Reacting to questions, the governor stressed that given his administration’s priority on workers’ welfare, the slashing of the budget would not affect civil servants’ salaries.

“From the revised budget figure, you can see that nothing affected the personnel cost and salaries. There is no intention to reduce workers salaries. We should even be thinking of increasing the salaries once our resources improve”, he further added.

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