By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
Osun State Governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola on Monday denied the insinuation that his government budgeted N9billion to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
Oyetola who said this during the official signing of the revised N82.2 billion budget of the State, at his office, Abere, Osogbo explained the figures, the governor said COVID-19 stands on two legs: health, being the present leg; and economy, being the future leg of the pandemic.
He further explained that the amount earmarked for COVID-19 is to 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.
According to him, “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.
“So, since the bulk of our revenue projection is actually from crude oil, then it makes sense for us to reduce the size of the budget and that is precisely what we have done as we have reduced the budget from N119.5billion to N82.2billion.
“For those who said we budgeted N9billion 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.”
Presenting the budget for signing, the Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly, Hon. Timothy Owoeye, who said that the unforeseen developments occasioned by COVID-19, caused a necessary revision and reduction of the initial budget by almost 32 percent harped on the need to look into other sources of revenue for the State, adding that this was the only way to improve the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Prof. Olalekan Yinusa, explained the methodology for arriving at the revised budget, saying that the revision involved an elaborate process, which involved the combined efforts of the Ministries of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Human Resources among others.
Yinusa said that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) also supported States by contacting experts to support them in their revision adding that priority was given to agriculture, commerce and industry and MSMEs, as part of measures to ensure that the economy is revived to a path of growth and stability.