By Martins Abochol
A cross section of small scale business owners have decried losses they suffered as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown in Jalingo, a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who visited some markets in the state capital reports.
The losses were incurred by the businesses as a result of low turnout of people in compliance with the lockdown, NAN learnt.
Alhaji Yero Rilwanu, a Palm oil retailer, blamed his losses to the lockdown, adding that his survival was based on daily sales of his product in the market and that his COVID-19 induced losses were irreparable.
Similarly, Mrs Grace Bitrus, a Yam seller at Kasuwan Bera, told NAN that the lockdown, though did not hinder movement of food items, it curtailed movement of customers, hence affecting sales.
Bitrus, a mother of four, described the situation as undesirable.
A tricycle operator, Mr Inuwa Kwanti, also lamented his losses due to the lockdown and declaration of curfew in the state, both of which hindered movement of people, thereby adversely affecting their operations.
Even revenue generation by government was not spared from the pandemic as Mr Solomon Elisha, state Commissioner for Budget and Planning, said the government had reduced the state’s budget from N215 billion to N139 billion due to COVID-19.
He noted that the situation had led to the closure of revenue sources, and this had affected the economy of the state negatively as government shifted its attention to reducing the spread of the pandemic.
Dr Albasu Kunini, Speaker, Taraba House of Assembly, observed that the cut in the state’s budget was to meet up with economic realities, as the pandemic had crippled the state’s economic development.
In spite of the situation, however, Gov. Darius Ishaku has assured that although the COVID-19 had affected the economic fortunes of the state, the 2021 appropriation, tagged budget of restoration and stabilisation, would ensure the completion of ongoing projects in the state.
He said that the COVID-19 downturn had equally made implementation of the 2020 budget difficult.