COVID-19: Kaduna Takes Austerity Measures
AREWA AGENDA- Governor Nasir El-Rufai has assured the people of Kaduna State that capital projects will not be affected by the belt tightening measures that his administration took last week, in reaction to the envisaged revenue shortfall owing to coronavirus.
The Governor who spoke to some broadcast journalists in a live media chat at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, also disclosed that salaries and the new minimum pension of N30,000 will be paid irrespective of the austerity measures.
“In Kaduna State, we are lucky that Government has increased its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), so payment of salaries and pensions to our senior citizens who have spent their adult lives in the service of our state, will not be a problem,’’ he assured.
El-Rufai also said that the capital expenditure of the 2020 budget will not be affected by the revenue shortfall from the Federation Account.
The Governor who said that cure for the disease and even a vaccine against contracting Coronavirus may soon be found, assured the people of Kaduna State that ‘’if it becomes necessary, we will borrow to fund capital projects.’’
El-Rufai explained that ‘’only the day-to-day running of Government will be affected by the measures we took. For example, we have centralised the buying of stationery and fuel, banned foreign trips by officials and reduced trips within the country.’’
‘’The administration has also slashed the overhead costs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government by 50% and has prioritised projects in education and health sectors because these are the two critical areas that the common man benefits from Government,’’ he added.
The Governor said that all these measures were necessary because most states may not be able to pay salaries if the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect international trade.
El-Rufai further said that the coronavirus has underscored the need to diversify the nation’s economy and wean it off over dependence on the sale of crude oil, adding that ‘’we should pay greater attention to the mineral and agricultural sectors.’’
The Governor who lamented the that insecurity has been hampering farming activities in Kaduna State, assured that the Governors of the North West zone and Niger State have come together to fight the bandits.
El-Rufai promised that before the raining season, security forces must have dealt with the bandits, so that farmers can go to farms.
‘’When there is food, the effects of the austerity measures will be mitigated,’’ he added.