By Sunday Iduh
Machineries have been put in place by the Benue State House of Assembly to enable it approve the 2021 state Appropriation Bill, so that government can function smoothly.
The House, in a bid to ensure that the 2021 Appropriation Bill operates within its framework, approved the second reading of the bill during plenary Wednesday.
Leading debate on the bill, Majority Leader, Damian Cheme, explained that “the 2021 Budget is prepared within the context of an economy that has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and struggling for survival; this is evidenced by the poor Macro-Economic outlook of the current fiscal year, and the poor performance of our state budget for the year.
“The Macro-Economic outlook for fiscal year 2021 is not likely to be any better than what obtained in the current year, especially for the first half of next year,” he said
Cheme disclosed that the 2021 budget was going to be a budget, modestly made within the context of economic recovery of the state and the determination to achieve the recovery.
He stressed, “in the face of fiscal uncertainties at the global and national level, I advise that we keenly look inwards by strictly monitoring Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure that they deploy their maximum internal revenue generation capacities, while also blocking all avenues of leakages”
Contributing, Bem Mngutyo, who seconded the motion, stated that there was need for the House to put in place, machinery to immediately pass the 2021 appropriation bill, adding that the abysmal performance of 2020 budget was as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic while calling on the Executive to step up revenue generation to enable her meet the development needs of the state.
Clerk of the House, Dr Torese Agena read the bill the second time and was referred by the Assembly Speaker, Titus Uba to the Committee on Appropriation for further legislative processing.
Recall that Governor Samuel Ortom presented to the House of Assembly, a budget of N132,592,041,310 for the 2021 fiscal year on 5 November, 2020.