Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has signed the revised 2020 appropriation bill of N300 billion into law.

The new budget represents 48 per cent reduction from the N530 billion originally budgeted for spending.

Wike, who said effects of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the review, however promised it will not affect the delivery of quality development projects and services.

He said: “It is unfortunate that everybody is living a different life now because of the pandemic. This calls for us to face the reality. COVID-19 has affected economic activities and revenues of government, and so it became necessary to review our budget.

“By the revised budget, so many things have to change. We have cut down the capital and recurrent expenditure to face the reality. We are the only state that has not cut down the salaries of political appointees and elected officers; virtually all the states have done a 20 to 30 per cent sut. Having cut down the recurrent expenditures, the overhead will no longer be the same.”

Governor Wike has gifted 41 judges in the state High Court brand new Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV).

At a brief ceremony at the High Court premises yesterday, Wike said the gesture was to improve service delivery in the judiciary.

He also said the judges’ quarters would soon be completed, and he promised to release the certificate of occupancy to them as well.

Wike said: “It is my pleasure to announce the completion of the newest and most modern judges living quarters in the country. Today, we are taking another unprecedented step to replace our judges’ old vehicles in fulfilling our promise to improve working conditions and enhance effective justice delivery.”

Chief Judge Justice Iyayi Laminkara thanked Wike for the gifts, saying the judiciary is now the envy of their counterparts in the country. He also thanked the governor for the prompt release of funds for operations of the High Court.