By M. Peter, Jos

The Plateau state economic team has recommended a 40 percent cut in the Plateau state’s 2020 budget.

The committee also recommended a drastic reduction of non-essential expenditures in the budget due to revenue shortfalls caused by falling oil price and the impact of the COVID-19 disease.

Chairman of the Team, Mr. Ezekiel Gomos disclosed this while briefing stakeholders at a meeting organized by Governor Simon Lalong to fashion out ways of containing the disease.

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“The revenue of the State has been hugely impacted and will make execution of programmes and projects very difficult. This necessitated the recommendation of the Economic Team that the 2020 budget be cut by 40 percent while all non essential expenditure be equally reduced drastically.”

Governor Lalong who chaired the meeting disclosed the state is to get a centre for the test of COVID-19 disease soon and explained that the meeting became necessary so as to carry everyone along in the fight against the disease.

He said, “we are dealing with an abnormal situation and so we need to take drastic measures in order to protect the lives of the citizens. We have already put in place various measures to ensure that the disease does not come into Plateau. Thankfully, there is no recorded case yet and we pray that it remains so. However, we must work hard to keep things this way”.

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State Health Comissioner, Dr. Nimkong Lar who also briefed the stakeholders on the effectiveness of the preventive measures already taken such as contact tracing, closure of markets, monitoring and checks at entry points to the State, as well as public enlightenment.

Lar citizens are being sensitized and are cooperating with measures put in place, stressing that the old site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH has been earmarked as an isolation centre while the State is purchasing more ventilators, drugs and other essentials that are needed for the disease.

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Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly Ayuba Abok expressed the support of the legislature and commended the Governor for all proactive measures taken so far and the Chairman of the APC in the State Chief Letep Dabang also supported the measures put in place, but asked for more sensitization of more stakeholders especially in the rural areas.