By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River State Government will spend about NGN3 Billion for the 2017 Carnival Calabar and Festivals sources in Government House say.
A breakdown of the figure shows that the five competing banks in the Carnival alone will share NGN500 million at NGN100 million apiece as subvention while the Governor’s band also presented a budget totalling about NGN110 million CrossRiverWatch gathered.
This totalled NGN600 million so far and adding the about NGN400 million spent on Miss Africa beauty pageant, NGN1 billion is already gone said an appointee who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The state introduced the Formula K into the festival Calendar and major streets are being rehabilitated for this purpose which unconfirmed sources say is valued at over NGN300 million including road markings.
Also, a Labor leader who spoke to CrossRiverWatch, said that the Labor unions are aware that the state has received about NGN6 billion as the third tranche of the Paris Club refund earlier in the week.
And, the Trade Union Congress TUC, state Chairman, Comrade Clarkson Otu, confirmed this in a telephone conversation with this reporter.
“We are aware that about NGN6 billion has been paid into the state accounts a few days ago,” he said.
He went ahead and alleged that there is massive withdrawal of funds from the state accounts to fund this year’s Carnival Calabar and Festivals.
The Federal Government last week announced that the third tranche has been paid but Cross River State has kept mum with the Commissioner for Finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong neither taking his calls nor responding to text messages to his known lines.
A mail to him also has neither being acknowledged or replied.
The Accountant General, Mr. Joseph Adie also did not take his calls and failed to acknowledge or reply text messages to his line.
Meanwhile, the ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labor Congress expired on Wednesday with a meeting scheduled for Tuesday by the state government not holding and as at Thursday morning, it was still unclear if it will hold.
Labor had alleged that the state has failed to implement vital parts of a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the state earlier in the year following a strike which saw the unions demand the sack of the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Tina Agbor for doctoring agreements.