The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has presented a budget estimate of N277,708,000,000 for the 2021 fiscal year.
The budget, christened “Budget of Blush and Bliss” was presented to the State House of Assembly on Thursday, November 5.
In 2020, the state budgeted the sum of N1,100,168,507,687.94 but later slashed it down to N147, 130, 166, 966.00 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state
Of this, 192, 511, 985, 550 representing 69% will go to recurrent expenditure while 85, 196.00 representing 31%0will go to capital expenditure.
The Governor said this year’s budget is unusual because the government will shift from infrastructure to the people.
He disclosed that unlike previous years, this year’s budget is different because it’s cumulative income does not fall within the trillions they have done in the past and that humanitarian perspective will be the focus of the budget.
“Having looked at it from the fiscal strategic paper which is an elucidation of the prospective cumulative income of the state, it is obvious that the income does not fall within the trillions we have done in the past.
“Of the budget estimates, the sum of 192 billion represents the recurrent expenditure which is 69% of the budget.
“Inside this 69%, 70% is warehoused for youth development, job creation, massive opportunity to lift people from poverty, humanitarian services, conditional cash transfer, everything that has to do with values of humankind.
“31% which amounts to 85, 196, 800, 000 is set aside that has to do with infrastructure,” the Governor said.
He said the core focus of the budget is humanitarian services which justified the theme of the budget, adding that the government will move from its big dreams and projects to focus on feeding people and putting food on the table.
“The budget is blush as it is a thing of shame from where we are coming from. We are falling away from our big dreams, from our kinetic aspirations, olimpotic agenda and reducing ourselves to a sudden consumptive, primitive effort just to reflect on the mood of the time.
“But it is a source of Bliss because young people will now have opportunity to be employed and be happy that government has shifted from big dreams to the primary effort of feeding the people”, the Governor said.
On security, he said the government will set up Neighbourhood Security Watch which will create jobs and security for the people of the state.
He said a normative framework that guarantees a fixed amount monthly for security agencies will be created next year to enhance the security level of the state.
Speaking earlier, the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Eteng Jonas William, commended the Governor for his pragmatic efforts to keep the state financially afloat during the year.
The Speaker said 2020 will go down in history as the year of “ups and downs” unpredictability and a call for strategic action and deep thinking.
According to him, in spite of the year’s challenges, the House worked assiduously to ensure that the 2020 budget was passed, commending the Governor for giving approval for the employment of 20,000 workers into the state civil service.