The governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, on Monday, signed the state’s 2020 revised budget of N82.2 billion into law after its passage by the State House of Assembly.
It was earlier reported that the former budget of N119.5 billion was slashed by 32 per cent, with priority given to agriculture, mining and tourism.
Speaking during the signing of the budget into law, at the governor’s office, Abere in Osogbo, Oyetola explained that N9 billion was allocated for COVID-19 management.
The governor buttressed that the funds will provide a stimulus package that takes care of the health aspect of the pandemic, and the economic recovery aspect through the provision of support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
“We felt we have to be realistic particularly when it comes to budget because budget is not about moving figures around from the previous year or by adding additional percentage. As we all know, the level of our proactiveness will reflect on how we will sustain the economy because nobody saw this pandemic coming, but as a government we have put everything in place to ensure the economy does not suffer.
“Don’t forget that sometimes last year, we had an Economic and Investment Summit where we realised there was a need to diversify the economy from oil to agriculture, mining and tourism as if we knew the pandemic was around the corner.
“We made efforts to develop the agriculture and mining sectors which we have actually sanitised as we have been receiving a lot of investors coming in to partner with us. Again, we are lucky to be one of the states that participated in the production of first gold bar which was launched a few weeks ago by Mr President.
“But looking at the devastating effects of the pandemic, we thought what is desirable is to look at the size of the budget and ensure that we are realistic about its size”, he said.
Oyetola clarified that the N9 billion dedicated to the pandemic is not just to fight it but to as well prepare a stimulus package after the crises.
“For those who said we budgeted N9 billion to fight COVID-19, that is not correct, it is a kind of stimulus package that will create more jobs for our youths. So, the budget analysis here is moved to support healthcare including the pandemic itself and to support the economy by giving support to MSME and the need to diversify the economy.”
“We believe that with this size of our budget, we will be able to manage our economy and to do other required things, including infrastructure,” he said.
The Speaker of the state’s Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, while presenting the budget to the governor also said that the unforeseen developments occasioned by COVID-19, caused a necessary revision and reduction of the initial budget by almost 32 per cent.
Owoeye told the governor to look into other sources of revenue for the state in order to improve its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).