By Itam Offor
The Governor of Cross River State has signed the 2021 budget of Bliss and Blush into law.
Recall that the State House of Assembly has passed into law the 2021 Appropriation Bill with a total Budget size of N281,940,880,230.
In the 2021 Budget, 25,129,910,608 was provided as Statutory Expenditure, 204,144,154,406 as Capital while Personnel and Over Head Cost has 52,666,815,216.
The Budget size shows an increase of 4,232,1144.68 from the 277,708,765,550 earlier proposed by the State Governor who had tagged it the Budget of “Blush and Bliss”.
The House passed the Budget after the presentation of the report of the Finance and Appropriation Committee by its Chairman, Hon. Sunday Achunekang (Obanlikwu) during Plenary.
Achunekang, recalled that the State Governor Prof. Ben Ayade had presented the 2021 Budget Estimate and Appropiation Bill to the Assembly in November 5, 2020, adding that the Bill was read a second time on Tuesday 24th November 2020 before it was referred to the Finance and Appropriation Committee for detailed consideration.
The Chairman further revealed that the Committee scrutinized the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and also received testimonies from Members of the State Economic Team after which MDA’s were invited to defend estimates proposed against their respective revenue and expenditure heads.
Achunekang further disclosed that the 2021 budget will focus more on humanitarian perspectives including, hunger, poverty, unemployment, security and Crime prevention, adding that there is need to creat an alternative economy with less dependence on oil and Federal Allocation.
According to the Chairman: “The Governor observed that the 2021 Budget is shifting from infrastructure, from major projects, from super Highway, from Deep Seaport from Bridges and creates opportunity to focus on the essence of existence which is hunger and poverty. It is also tailored to address unemployment and security”.
Speaking to Journalists after the passage, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams expressed happiness at the early passage of the Appropriation Bill and commended Members for their commitment and hard work.
The Speaker, stated that the Assembly had made provisions for some grey areas like palliatives and several humanitarian services adding that the proposed State Polytechnic had not been considered hence the difference between what the Governor presented and the actual figure passed by the Assembly.
Williams also stated that since the Budget is Christined “Blush and Bliss”, there was need to do more humanitarian services to ameliorate the sufferings of Cross Riverians occasioned by COVID-19 and the Endsars protest.
The Speaker promised that the House will increase it’s oversight functions to facilitate effective monitoring and evaluation at the implementation stage of the Budget while promising that the House will work towards achieving at least 70%implimentation of the Budget.