Women of Change Series: Inspiring Abia's COVID-19 Fight

Author: PERL

On April 20, 2020, Abia State recorded its first two cases of COVID-19; as of June 28th, the number of confirmed cases had increased to 302. The public health concerns thrown up by the pandemic led to a near total shut down of economic activities in the state – businesses, schools and most government offices are closed. More significantly, the pandemic has severely impacted government revenues, thereby constraining the ability of the state government to implement the 2020 budget as planned. It is at this time of great uncertainty and economic slump that Dr. Nnenna Chikezie – one of PERL’s Women in Governance Change Agents – found herself in a position where she could play a pivotal role in helping Abia State to navigate the emerging realities. As the Executive Secretary of the central planning and budgeting agency in Abia - the Abia State Economic Planning Commission - Dr. Chikezie leads a team of over 50 budget and planning officers to ensure that plans and budgets in Abia State conform to good practice, are realistic and deliver outcomes that respond to citizens' needs, irrespective of their gender and social status. As the ongoing pandemic has affected revenue projections upon which the 2020 budget and spending estimates were prepared, there was a need to revise it.