By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
Sequel to precautionary measures put in place to ensure citizens of Plateau State are at a lower risk of contacting the coronavirus which has ravaged many countries across the globe, the Chairman of the Plateau State Economic Team Mr. Ezekiel Gomos said the revenue of the State has been hugely impacted and will make execution of programmes and projects very difficult.
The chairman also stated that as a result of the aforementioned, the Economic Team had recommended that the 2020 budget be cut by 40 percent while all non essential expenditure be equally reduced drastically.
Gomos disclosed this Monday in Jos, the State Capital while addressing APC stakeholders at a meeting organised at the instance of the State Governor, which include members of the State House of Assembly as well as the leadership of the party in the State.
According to him, “Because of this pandemic and measures taken to curb the scourge, the revenue of the State has been hugely impacted and will make execution of programmes and projects very difficult.
“This necessitated the recommendation of the Economic Team that the 2020 budget be cut by 40 percent while all non essential expenditure be equally reduced drastically”, he explained.
It would be recalled that, Governor Simon Lalong had last week during a state broadcast said, “For the avoidance of doubt, recurrent expenditure other than salaries and pensions will be cut by 40 percent; the processes of fresh employment; implementation of the new minimum wage; funding of on-going projects among others, will be affected in the interim.
“Similarly, all allowances of political office holders are hereby slashed by 50 percent.
Lalong added that, “These decisions were painstakingly arrived at by the State Executive Council on the strength of the advice of the State Economic Advisory Council.
“We shall therefore appreciate the understanding of all and sundry in this difficult period, pending when we put this situation behind us”, he stressed.
Meantime, Governor Lalong who chairs the State COVID-19 Emergency Response Task Force, explained that the meeting became necessary so as to carry everyone along in the fight against the disease.
He said, “We are dealing with an abnormal situation and so we need to take drastic measures in order to protect the lives of the citizens.
“We have already put in place various measures to ensure that the disease does not come into Plateau. Thankfully, there is no recorded case yet and we pray that it remains so.
“However, we must work hard to keep things this way”, he maintained.
Lalong also said there was need to also work with the legislature and the ruling party leadership in the State to look at the socio-political impact of the disease in the State.
The Governor charge the stakeholders to work together and make hard choices that will keep the State afloat.