Governor Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State, yesterday, signed the state’s 2021 budget into law.
Christened ‘Budget of Blush and Bliss’, it has a total sum of N281.9 billion, a sharp reduction from the previous budget size of over N1.01 trillion.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the executive chambers of the Governor’s Office, Calabar, Ayade said the budget had made provisions for the establishment of a state polytechnic and social welfare schemes like grants and financial benefits to cushion the effect of COVID-19.
He said the size of the budget was smaller when compared to previous budgets and attributed this to the fact that his administration had decided to reduce the financial commitments of the state in key projects such as the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the 275km superhighway to just five per cent.
These projects would be built on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
“For the budget of 2021, the gross component is in the dramatic reduction of the budget size from over N1.01 trillion to N218 billion. One will ask what will then happen to that missing gap? We had explained this in the budget presentation that we are shifting from all the big big dreams to the basic, primordial things of survival and ensuring that there is food on the table. We had planned in 2020 that by 2021, we are going to move away from food on the table to food on the table and hands on the plough, but with COVID-19 and EndSARS protest, we realised that we have to sustain food on the table further,” he said.
He said the budget was streamlined to meet its intended focus, hence it provided only for five per cent cost for such capital projects as the 275 kilometre superhighway, the Bakassi Deep Sea port, Calas Vegas Island, among others.