Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, yesterday presented the state’s 2021 Appropriation Bill estimated at N277 billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration.
The bill, which was tagged the “Budget of Blush and Bliss,” allocated N192.5 billion, representing 67 percent of the entire budget, for recurrent expenditure while N88, 196,500, 00 representing 33 percent was earmarked for capital expenditure.
Ayade explained that he set aside 67 percent of the total estimate for recurrent expenditure in order to meet the immediate and physical needs of Cross Riverians in the aftermath of the COVID-19 and EndSARS conflagrations.
He said: “I decided along with my executive council after due consultation that the budget of this year will focus more on the humanitarian perspective.
“We have decided to shift focus from infrastructure, from big projects and refocus on the people. So this is the people’s budget, and for the first time we are shifting from infrastructure, from major projects, from all the big dreams and projects that can actually create opportunity to focus on the very essence of existence, hunger and poverty.”
The governor further stated that the budget would take care of unemployment and issues of security in line with the provisions of the Constitution in section 14 sub Section 2.
He said: “We have decided to focus so much on agriculture, youth employment, social housing and youth skill development.”
He added that it would create a lot of opportunities for Cross Riverians.
The governor disclosed that the budget has a provision for the establishment of neighborhood security watch, which will deal with neighborhood protection and create a lot of jobs for graduates and non graduates alike.
Ayade said: “The extension of the National Youth Service Corp is adequately provided in the budget to ensure our young graduates do not despair after their service year.
“We have also made adequate provisions for agriculture to ensure that all young people who study agriculture upon leaving school move into the agricultural sub-sector by providing for procurement of equipment, clearing of land and supporting our people with funds for agricultural inputs.”
The governor told the state’s House of Assembly that the 2021 budget also contained scholarships and bursaries for young Cross Riverians.
“We have decided to reactivate the elders’ council and the youth forum to see how we can finance and encourage school programmes. We’ve introduced scholarships and bursaries. We have introduced all of these that appeals to young people so they can see that this is their government,” he maintained.
He consoled with every resident of Cross River who in the course of the recent arson and vandalism in the state suffered any form of loss in one way or the other