From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State Government announced on Wednesday that about N2 billion has been expended in the payment of allowances to frontline health workers as an incentive in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
The figure shot the total amount spent on personnel cost between January and September 2020 to N64.85 billion, representing a performance of 103.31% in the budget of the outgoing year.
The sum of N62.17 billion was initially budgeted as personnel cost.
Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning Mr Barry Gbe stated this while giving the overall performance of the 2020 budget as a background to the outlook to the sectoral breakdown of the 2021 budget size of N383 billion.
According to him, between January and September 2020, the state recorded total revenue of N190.3 out of the proportionate revenue of N211.7 billion representing 88.87%.
On expenditure, a total of N152.8 billion was spent out of the proportionate budget of N211.7 billion representing an overall performance of 72.15%.
Gbe said the 2021 budget, christened the “Budget of Recovery”, was to fast track the pace of “our economic recovery, boost economic diversification and ensure social inclusion.
‘The budget was carefully formulated and designed to address the challenges and resultant impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, targeted at bringing the businesses and sources of family livelihood back to life.’
Answering questions from newsmen on the debt profile of the state, Mr Fidelis Tilije, Commissioner for Finance, put the current debt at N207 billion.
Tilije said the present administration was comfortable with the present debt profile, explaining that Delta was the least indebted state, having been rated 8% debt ratio by the Debt Management Office (DMO).
He said the implication was that the state was free from every encumbrance to borrow to fund projects, as the present seal by the Federal Ministry of Finance for states to borrow was 20% debt ratio following a reduction from 40% as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
Commissioner for Information Mr Charles Aniagwu, who coordinated the press conference, said the 2021 budget breakdown was for the people to understand the economic policies of the state government in the coming year.