By Peter Duru
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has stated that the federal government’s recasting of the macroeconomic projections and assumptions in the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was indicative of a worsening fiscal prospect for the country.
He observed that with the World Bank projection that the country’s economy would shrink by 4.4 percent along with substantial cuts in public revenues, the country was faced with a looming recession that could be the worst in the history of the country.
The Governor who made this known Monday while declaring open a town hall meeting for the preparation of the 2021 budget in Makurdi, lamented that the country was still grappling with the economic shocks of the global economic slowdown created by the oil supply crisis between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the realities of the time had forced the three tiers of government to readjust their revenue projections adding “we had to reduce our 2020 budget projections by 43 percent, from N190billion to N108billion.
“For our 2021 budget, we have to anticipate an even more disruptive impact on our projected revenues and expenditure and therefore proceed in the assumption that the budget cannot be any higher than what it is this year and indeed might be less.
“We, therefore, need to adjust our expectations to this reality as a government and as a people.
“Let me reiterate that our vision for Benue State is that of an economically seIf-reliant federating unit of Nigeria. This vision is not a pipe dream. God has endowed us with the human and natural resources that we can harness towards achieving it. Lest the current challenges tempt us to despair and to lament our fortunes, we shall overcome our challenges.
“I want to restate our administration’s determination to institutionalise prudence, transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and to ensure that citizens are engaged in this process. It is in furtherance of this agenda that we have convened today’s meeting.”
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