The Governor of Cross River State Bassey Edet Otu has presented 250 billion Naira Appropriation Bill to the State House of Assembly for the 2024 fiscal year.
Named the “People’s First Budget”, the Budget set aside about N154 billion for capital expenditure, while N96 billion would take care of recurrent expenses with about One Hundred and Thirty-Three Billion, Three Hundred Million Naira (N133,300,000,000) expected as derivable revenue from the monthly Federation Account during the year.
Governor Otu while presenting the document on Thursday to the Assembly for consideration and subsequent approval, indicated that the budget proposal was developed to align with the United Nations development goals’ initiative of zero hunger; industry; innovation; and justice principles.
According to him, the State government is not unmindful of the global economic downturn which has negatively impacted the economic wherewithal of the state and the citizens in general.
He also disclosed that the State Government is expecting the sum of Thirty-Five Billion, Three Hundred and Twenty-Two Million Seven Hundred and Forty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred and Ninety-Four Naira (N35,322,747,594) as independent revenue during the next fiscal year.
Highlights of the sectorial priorities in the 2024 budget estimates indicate that agriculture would receive a huge boost as the State plans to provide farmers with improved hybrid seedlings to enhance greater agricultural development
The governor announced the state government’s preparedness to commence free tuition in public primary and secondary schools across the state, alongside the payment of examination fees for students registering to take the WAEC and NECO.
Other key features of the budget indicate that “the State Electrification Agency (SEA) shall be empowered to provide power to our rural dwellers and semi-urban areas.
Importantly, the Governor said the budget proposal “is a clear departure from the norm in recent times where recurrent expenditure exceeds capital expenditure”.
Earlier in his address, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Elvert Ayambem drew the Governor’s attention to the various challenges facing the Assembly, noting that these include the absence of operational vehicles to enhance their constitutionally empowered oversight responsibilities.
Cross River North: Group tackles Ex Gov. Ayade, asks him to be a man of honour, accept defeat
Ahead of the Court of Appeal judgement, concerned group of Cross River North politicians under the aegis of Cross River Democracy Watch (CRDW) has asked the former governor to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship by accepting defeat rather than his recent clandestine moves to romance the National chairman of the ruling APC to influence the Court of Appeal judgment in his favour.
This is coming against the backdrop that group had earlier claimed it has intercepted credible intelligence over a fresh move by the immediate past Governor of the State, Senator Ben Ayade, to influence the ⁹decision of the Court of Appeal in his favour in an appeal the ex-Governor filed challenging the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal affirming the election of Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as the Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District.
The group expressed concern over the sudden romance between Senator Ayade and the APC National Chairman, Alhaji Umar Ganduje.
In a statement made available to journalists on Thursday, 19th October, 2023, in Abuja, CRDW warned that any attempt to subvert the mandate of the good people of Cross River North which was freely given to Senator Jarigbe in the February 25, 2023, National Assembly Election will be resisted.
“We have noted the curious political philandering between the National Chairman of APC and Senator Ayade who was roundedly rejected at the poll by our people in the last election and we make bold to say that such a move would not save the ex Governor from also losing at the Court of Appeal.
“He failed us as Governor, how can he expect us to send him to the Senate to represent us? When we have a super achiever like Senator Jarigbe?” the group stated.
The group said their sources informed them that the ex Governor is now chasing the APC hierarchy around in a desperate bid to influence the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment. “This is definitely going to be another failed attempt”, the statement read.
“Ayade now flies in private jets with the National Chairman of the APC and begs bigwigs of the party who care to listen, to his infantile crocodile tears, to help him upturn the judgment of the Cross River State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.”
“We have evidence of his recent trip to Abuja with the APC National Chairman during which the ex-Governor lamented his loss at the tribunal,” the group stated.
The group urged the ex-Governor to accept his defeat both at the February 25, 2023, Senatorial Election and at the Tribunal.
CRDW in the said statement signed by its National Coordinator, Mr Godswill Udoak, however, expressed solid confidence in the judiciary to shun the evil machinations of the ex-Governor and his ilk.
Cross River: Otu’s address to citizens after 100 days in office
It is with a sense of duty and responsibility that I address you fellow Cross Riverians and residents of the State on the journey we have jointly undertaken as a people towards a prosperous and united Cross River State.
May I in the passing, thank you for the overwhelming support and other elements of goodwill you extended to us during the 2023 general elections. By this singular act you have signed an unwritten contract with the government – the social contract; by entrusting us with your power and authority to manage the common wealth of the State on your behalf.
However, in spite of this enormous trust, we as the government believe strongly in participatory governance – where every citizen and resident of Cross River State is carried along in decision making and programme implementation.
So, the present government in power is not “my” government but “our” government. Accordingly, when we adopt this mindset in our day to day activities, collectively we shall have a State we will be proud of and bequeath same to the next generation.
On the most orchestrated 100 days in office, I wish to state that the celebration is more of an administration myth than a reality.
The myth is premised on the huge expectation of the citizenry for the government to deliver on its campaign promises in sprints; and the reality of it is that governance is never a sprint but a marathon.
This marathon race of governance requires time-tested procedures of bottom-up planning, execution, review and completion. It requires patience, discipline and focus. So, this is the approach the present administration is adopting to ensure the sustainable growth and development of our State.
Fellow Cross Riverians, gentlemen of the Press, permit me at this juncture to present to you some sectoral accomplishments and plans so far made by this administration since its inception on May 29, 2023.
INFRASTRURE: The bedrock of any economic and social development is availability of relevant infrastructural facilities. To this end, the State Government has within 100 days in office, has achieved the following milestones.
i) Upgrade and completion of the ultra modern Calabar
International Convention Centre (CICC) which hosted the recently concluded International Cooperation and Investment Summit.
il) Completion of 1.2km concrete-paved Nyong Edem Street, Calabar South.
ili) Rehabilitation of Edet Ansa Farm Access Road and Etap Ayip
Road, in Calabar Municipality.
iv) Rehabilitation of 3km Bebuasuan Rural Access Road in Obudu LGA.
V) Rehabilitation of 3km Ketting Community Road in Obanliku LGA.
vi) Re-modeling and renovation of the Governor’s Office Complex (ongoing).
vil) Construction of 39km Ukelle Road in Yala LGA (ongoing).
vili) Award of contract for the renovation/equipping of the State
ultra-modern library complex, Calabar.
ix) Restoration and beautification of the millennium park recreational Garden, Calabar.
x) Reconstruction of State Emergency Management Agency
(SEMA) and Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) warehouses.
AGRICULTURE: As we are aware, agriculture is the area Cross River State has comparative advantage over many States of the federation. Prime attention is therefore given to this sector with the following achievements so far.
The present administration has attracted $15million private sector investment into the Ayip Eku Oil Palm Estate, with multiple effects on employment and growth of State GDP.
ii) Government has also developed a-6-years N30bn agricultural credit guarantee fund for rice, maize, fisheries and livestock farmers.
iii) In order to ascertain with precision, the soil texture for specific crops in the different zones of the State, Government has commenced the State-wide Digital Soil Fertility Mapping.
This will translate to greater yields of different crops.
iv) In partnership with the Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (ORGAN), the State Government has commenced the planting of 3.5million hybrid oil palm seedlings in 13 identified locations across the State.
V) In agric-related human capital development, the State Government has sponsored indigenes of the State to participate in cassava-bio value chain conference in Asaba-Delta State for subsequent establishment of cassava-biofuel factory in the State, as well as workshop on sustainable oil palm economy.
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Vi) 50 starter-rice growers have been given free rice seedlings, fertilizer and pesticides, while 30 starter-livestock farmers have been assisted with day old chicks, feeds etc.
AVIATION: In order to transform the State into a transit hub and evacuation corridor, the following have been achieved.
i The State Government has attracted an Irish Aviation Company to build and run an Aviation Training School in Bebi, Obanliku. The State Government will undertake the payment of full tuition fees for all the indigenes of the State enrolled in the institution.
li) The sum of H3.7bn has been made available by the State Government for the completion of the Obudu Cargo and
On assumption of office, we inherited a 40-ministry structure, but in order to align our lean resources with the reality of the times, we have been able to restructure and compress the ministries to 31.
On our debt portfolio, the State Government has successfully restructured our debt repayment so as to give room for development projects.
For the first time in recent past, the State Government has fully mobilized our contingent to the forthcoming National Sports Festival billed for Asaba-Delta State. This mobilization is in the areas of camping, training, allowance, logistics etc. This is a glowing testimony to the fact that this administration is youth-friendly.
I am also glad to announce to the teeming Cross Riverians that the recently concluded International Cooperation and Investment Summit yielded good results with over $1bn financial commitment to be invested in the State by way of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
SOCIAL SERVICES: The State Government is not ignorant of the hardship its citizens are passing through occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal. In order to cushion the effect of this unpleasant situation government has the following on it stable:
I) Reduction of working days for civil servants on GL.13 and below from 5-3 days per week.
lI) From GL.14 and above who will still be expected to work for the usual 5 days a week, a monthly stipend will be added to their salaries.
III) There is also provision for hardship allowance for all civil servants in the State according to grade level.
IV) Reduced transportation scheme is about to be introduced in designated routes in the State.
V) Subsidized ticketing for all commercial vehicles operating within the State capital is in place, thereby reducing the fares by 50%.
VI) Government has also approved free antenatal care and delivery for pregnant women across the State in All Stat e-owned hospitals.
My dear compatriots, the foregoing modest developmental strides are within the context of 100 days of this administration out of the four years tenure of office. It therefore depends on the instrument of evaluation used by each citizen to score this government.
To some, we have performed poorly, to others we have achieved passably while others will conclude that we have surpassed the people’s expectation.
For us as government, all the evaluations are correct. Meanwhile, we are duty-bound and resolute to bring development to every nook and cranny of the State before the expiration of our tenure.
What we need from our fellow citizens is cooperation, patience, love, peace and unity; for development is not an abstract entity, rather it is tangible activity anchored on the foregoing prevailing atmosphere.
Let us join hands to realize the State of our dream, let the sweat of today become the harvest of tomorrow. I know we can do this together. Yes we can!
I thank you all.
Senator Prince Bassey Otu
Cross River State Governor
Cross River Govt moves to construct rail line to link Obudu with Calabar
The Cross River State Government muted a plan to contruct rail line that will link Obudu from Calabar.
The Governor of the State, Bassey Otu disclosed this in Calabar during a media interaction to mark his 100 days in office.
According to him, the proposed rail line, which would materialise before the end of his tenure would be a buffer that will ease out the transportation challenges in the state.
He noted that the planned project would be environmental friendly.
“I had said I wouldn’t embark on any new projects but to finish all the abandoned ones, but the rail line is important to ease the present challenges in the state.
“My administration is not just going to start this project, but will also see to its conclusion,” he said.
He scored his government high in the area of infrastructure development within his 100 days in office
Otu also indicated that Cally Air was receiving priority attention as well as the Obudu Cargo and Passengers airport.
Expatiating on the Cargo airport, the governor said that the state had secured N3.7 billion for its completion.
He said its completion was part of the plans to transform Cross River into an aviation hub.
According to him, to transform the state into a transit hub and an evacuation corridor, the government had attracted an Irish Aviation Company to build and run an Aviation Training School in Bebi, Obanliku.
“The State Government will undertake the payment of full tuition fees for all the indigenes of the state enrolled in the institution.
“The sum of N3.7 billion has been made available by the State Government for the completion of the Obudu Cargo and Passenger Airport.”
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