By Miracle Enuji
Delta Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has expressed worries over the huge damaging effects of Coronavirus on global economy fearing that it will stall the full implementation of the State’s 2020 budget already passed by into law.
Speaking with journalists on Thursday, March 12, at the first quarterly media interaction for year 2020, Governor Okowa said that the major source of revenue for the country and the state, crude oil is now on a new time low since 2016 due to the sharp fall in global oil prices occasioned by Coronavirus which as at today varies between $33 to $35.
“Now that we have mass production of oil which constitutes our economy, mostly due to the fact that our oil is not being sold and oil prices have also gone down, it is obvious that each and every one of us, our states and the nation will have challenges even with execution of budgets for the year.
“At the federal level, a committee has already been set up to look into the issue of the reconsideration of the benchmark and that benchmark that will be eventually arrived at will impact on us.
“We have to be able to wait for the Federal Government to arrive at a new benchmark on the price of oil, because it is that figure that we as states will use in considering the likely revenue allocation we will be getting in the remaining months of the year.
“So, there is no doubt that our budget is likely going to be threatened and we know that any part of the threat affects more of the infrastructural development which our people desperately yearn for.”
“The Covid-19 is a threat impacting negatively on the global economy and revenue of Nigeria. If it continues for a long time, it might lead to depression and recession”, Okowa stressed.
Meanwhile, the governor re-echoed the achievements of his administration in the healthcare sector especially in the contributory health scheme for all of Deltans, the empowerment of youths and women, and development of grassroot sports which recently earned him and the State a national recognition.
He added that the construction of 9 new technical colleges have been awarded which will be opened for educational activities when completed within the next 15 months.
Governor Okowa who received commendations from journalists for the new look of Asaba, the State Capital, assured that same feat will be replicated in Warri as the construction of two major drains had begun expressing confidence in the Director General of Warri, Uvwie Environs Development Agency, WUEDA in rebranding the state of Warri metropolis.