By Ene Asuquo
Cross River States Governor, prof. Ben Ayade has presented a budget estimate of N330billion for 2023 fiscal year.
Presenting the budget before Cross River House of Assembly in Calabar, christened the budget as “Budget of Quantum Infinitum”.
The governor said that the budget was designed to improve the welfare of the citizens and residents of the state, noting that the budget presentation was his last given his transition period.
He explained that 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.
According to him, the budget also focuses on completing some of the projects executed in his administration in the last seven years.
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 represent 61 per cent of the budget estimate.
“The capital expenditure will provide for the completion of all the projects that are yet to be completed in the state.
“I wish to call on the Federal Government to support this budget and help us to complete our projects. Since the loss of Bakassi, the state has continued to suffer economic hardship.
“This budget seeks to carry too many things given our commitment to sustaining the growth and development of the state,” he said.
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.
” 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 #5,000 to #10,000 to the rural dwellers. They need it the most because indeed we care about the people”
The Cross River state governor further disclosed that the sum of N5billion was budgeted for security with a view of providing vehicles for security agencies and ensuring they operate with modern equipment.
“Also in the budget, we have budgeted the sum of N18billion for the aviation sector and the sum of N7billion to provide solar electricity in Calabar metropolis,” he said.