The Sokoto State Government has cut its 2020 financial appropriations from N202 billion to N153 billion and waived fees on water supply to residents for two months to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Abdussamad Dasuki, who made the disclosure on Friday, said the decisions were reached at the State Executive Council’s meeting on Thursday.
According to Dasuki, said the review of the 2020 budget was necessary in recognition of the financial down flow experienced as the result of COVID-19 pandemic, which is a burning issue across the world.
He said in a statement: “Sokoto will not be an exception, therefore, government must look at the necessities and apply realistic measures in the situation.
“The budget was reviewed to 25 percent downward and it will affect all the Ministries and Departments allocations as well as other projects.”
Dasuki said that the council had revoked the contract for the construction of the Deputy Governor’s residence, which was awarded to Abarma Nigeria Limited.
“The contract was awarded in the last two years at the cost of N484 million and the contractor was mobilised with N285 million and absconded from the job,” the commissioner said in a statement by Malam Muhammad Bello, the Special Adviser to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Dasuki said the contract was at 35 per cent execution stage and ministries of finance along with justice were mandated to ensure requisite action on the project.
He said the state executive council has adopted a committee findings and resolution on sharing of state tertiary institutions’ internally generated revenues of 60 per cent to the institutions, while 40 per cent goes to the state government coffers.
According him, the decision was reached over financial misappropriation observed from the institutions’ activities.
The commissioner explained that the decision was aimed at ensuring transparency.
He said the state government would continue to play its part in running the institutions.
Also, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Umar Bature, said the council approved the waiver on collection of water supply levies for civil servants and other members of the public for March and April in view of the effects of Coronavirus pandemic.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ali Inname, said the council had approved the payment of 100 per cent hazard allowance to all health workers in the state.
Inname said health workers on Coronavirus pandemic duty would also obtain their weekly allowances, noting that the payments would be in bulk for two months, aimed at boosting their morale for increased dedication.
According to him, those on weekly allowance were on frontline assignments on containing Coronavirus such as those screening people at border checkpoints, working at isolation centers and directly in the task force committees.
He said the council had also approved the inclusion of 23 local government areas of the state in the execution of the International Diagnostic Center, which was initially handled by the government alone.
The Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Bajini Galadanchi, said the council approved for the valuation and payment of permanent structures to be affected by ongoing dualisation of Illela-More Road in Sokoto metropolis.