From Idongesit Inyang
Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River has said that his 2023 budget of “Quantum Infinitum” was to focus on Agro-industrialisation as an alternative economy, self independence from federation account and finalization of all his projects.
“It is also based on principle of philosophy and is designed to improve the welfare of the citizens and residents of the state,” Ayade maintained, while presenting an estimate of N330billion for the 2023 fiscal year.
The governor, who presented the budget before the Cross River House of Assembly, recently, also called it a ‘valedictory budget’ as this was his last before he vacates the office in a couple of months.
Giving a breakdown of the budget, Ayade said that N130billion was for recurrent expenditure, which represents 39 per cent of the budget estimate.
He said that the recurrent expenditure will handle the payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions and also cushion the effects of hardship and poverty in the state.
For capital expenditure, “We have budgeted a sum of N200billion which represents 61 per cent of the budget estimate,” the governor also mentioned.
According to him, “The capital expenditure will provide for the completion of all the projects that are yet to be completed in the state,” adding, “the budget was tagged: ‘budget of Quantum Infinitum’ because it was carrying mass aspects of the state progressive and development plan.”
He stated that the budget would target the completion of projects, payment of salaries and gratuities, pension, grants, livelihood support, and capital projects among many others.
He called on the Federal Government to support the budget and help him complete projects as the loss of Bakassi, he further stated, has brought untold hardship to the people of the state.
Emphasising his commitment to the social welfare of Cross Riverians, Ayade maintained, “There’s a provision for grants, there’s a provision for conditional cash transfer, there’s a provision for social comfort just for the betterment of our people.”
He also said, “There’s a provision for health insurance for those who are zero income earners. All of those massive aggregate provisions is to show that we focus on the people.
“In this budget, we have also made provision for conditional cash transfer of N5,000 to N10,000 to the rural dwellers. They need it the most because indeed we care about the people,” the governor also reiterated.
“We have budgeted the sum of N18 billion for the aviation sector and the sum of N7 billion to provide solar electricity in Calabar metropolis,” he said.
The state governor disclosed that the sum of N5 billion was budgeted for security with a view of providing vehicles for security agencies and ensuring they operate with modern equipment.
Faulting the federal government on his development plans, Ayade said, “This nation has failed,” calling for a political review system with equal access to leadership.
Hear him: “This nation is bleeding, Nigeria should purify leadership structure and recruitment process,” explaining that the country should create “time for review and not time for election” as “the rot is getting too much.”
On the recent announcement of change on the nation’s currency, the governor said this will put pressure on the people describing it as being too apt even as the various stakeholders, according to him, have not been consulted.
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