Imoke Presents Budget 2013 to CRSHA

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by crossriverwatch admin

The Cross River State Government has proposed a budget of N151, 376,066,790.75 for the 2013 fiscal year. Tagged “Budget of Commitment,” seventy percent of the budget shall service capital expenditure
requirements while 30 percent is set aside for recurrent needs. While presenting the proposal to the State House of Assembly,

Governor Liyel Imoke explained that the budget is intended to consolidate on the gains made in 2012 as the state strives to deliver quality service to the people.

According to Imoke, “we have tried to ensure a public expenditure structure that prioritises a higher capital structure over recurrent. As a deliberate principle, we strive to maintain capital/recurrent budget ratio of 70%:30%. This not only emphasizes the importance of prudence but also demonstrates the state’s commitment to ensure that more of our financial resources are devoted to developmental projects and programmes”.

Below is the Governor’s speech at the presentation of the budget to the State House of Assembly. crossriverwatch will subsequently bring you a detailed analysis of the 2013 budget. Enjoy the speech.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Hon. Members
of the Cross River House of Assembly

Fellow Cross Riverians,

As has become tradition in our thriving democracy, I stand here, once again, to present to the house, the 2013 Appropriation Bill, for your judicious consideration and subsequent passage.The executive arm of government has enjoyed unprecedented support from this house as was characterised by the speedy consideration and passage of the 2012 Appropriation (Amendment) bill and other bills sponsored by the executive in the past couple of months.

I shall continue to count on your understanding and collaboration in the important task of governance and service delivery to our people. This well-established co-operative relationship is even more imperative in the face of thechallenging financial and fiscal climate. Nevertheless, we are undeterred from our goals to deliver the“dividends of democracy” to the people of Cross River.

Over the past couple of years, our budget estimates have been revenue-driven. This approach has been adopted in an effort to motivate us to fill revenue gaps through multi-sectorial internal revenuegeneration.It is our hope that this “Creative Funding” approach will help us to weather the storm

The fiscal and budgetary balance will occur when we are able to meet recurrent financial needs from internally generated revenues sources. This is the reasoning behind the recent overhaul of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the subsequent targets set which all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)are expected to meet at the end of each year. In spite of the events of the past couple of months, we have been reinvigorated and are looking at new windows of significant opportunities.

Our renewed resolve remains uncompromised as we re-direct our efforts towards sources that have remained untapped and unexplored as we seek to consolidate our revenue base and maintain the tempo of our development.

The revolutionary new budgeting system, the Medium Term Budgetary Framework (MTBF) has recorded appreciable buy-in from our MDAs, such that we can reasonably, appraise the preceding budget and realistically forecast for the coming year. Its complete adoption has also enabled us to undertake grassroots consultation and guarantee quality performance review, while ensuring that our budgets remain policy-driven.

2012 BUDGET IN RETROSPECT

Mr. Speaker, distinguished Hon. Members, last year’s budget was termed “Budget of Delivery, ostensibly in line with our determination to consolidate on the gains made inprevious years.

The 2012 Appropriation lawremained consistent with the 7-point agenda which this administration has evolved to drive development in the State. Despite the various challenges2012 presented, the State achieved laudable landmarks in its agenda of grassroots transformation; urban renewal, tourism development and agricultural expansion. The following are just some of the highlights:

Internally Generated Revenue

In the 2012 appropriation law, which was revenue-driven to ensure internal earnings reasonably supported over-all recurrent needs, a total of N24,450,950,404 (Twenty-Four Billion, Four Hundred and Fifty Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Four Hundred and Four Naira) was anticipated to be generated by the Internal Revenue Service and MDAs.

By the third quarter we generated N9.6 billion representing 52% of the target for that period. Our records show that this is the highest ever recorded internal revenue generated in the history of the Statefor that nine month period.This remarkable success has spurred us to meet our full potentials.

In the face of dwindling in-flows from the Federation Account, the most viable option for us is to ensure sustainability and consistency in our drive to enhance our internal revenue generation. Fortunately, we are now exploring revenue sources which hitherto had remained untapped. This is in no small part due to the collaboration of the house in prompt passage of the relevant bills.

The Reserve Fund

In 2012, the State contributed the sum of 50 million naira monthly to the Reserve fund which now stands at over N6 billion.We remain undeterred in our resolve to guarantee the future for our children despite the current financial difficulties.

Debt Management

As a responsible administration, we were able to meet our debt servicing obligations to our creditors. Efforts at efficiently managing public debts yielded the desired results, and earned the support and confidence of relevant institutions and partners. Of the N13 billion earmarked for debt servicing in 2012, over N7 billion was re-paid, representing about 56% as at the third quarter of the 2012 Fiscal year.

Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, as you are all aware, the state has a significant comparative advantage in agriculture. In 2012, we witnessed the influx of considerable private capitalinto the sector as well as the strengthening of PPP various initiatives in the sector. WILMAR Limited is cultivating over 25,000 hectres of oil palm estates in Akamkpa and Biase with plans to institute a refinery. Dangote group is also expanding its interests in the sector with its pineapple plantation development.

We are also working with NDDC to develop and commercialiserural agriculture and theCross River Agricultural and Rural Empowerment Scheme (CARES) programme is being re-organised. All these measures have been undertaken to promote economic growth especially in the rural areas and ensure food security and prosperity of our people.

Mr. Speaker, needless to say that agriculture holds the key to the State’s economic transformation through the veritable provision of employment opportunities to our youth and the creationof wealth in our rural communities.

In the 2012 fiscal year, the Cross River Farm Credit Scheme concluded the disbursement of N1billion to farmers and processors across the State under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS).

The State government, in a bid to further mitigate the problem of youth unemployment, signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Songhai Regional Centre in Port Novo, Republic of Benin to build an integrated World Class Centre for agric business and Entrepreneurship in the State. Mr. Speaker, the Cross River Songhai Initiative (CRSI) is currently under construction in Abi Local Government Area.

Tourism Development

The Cross River State government continue uphold its commitment to making the State the premier destination for business and leisure travel in the country. The gains recorded in this respect have attracted national and international acclaim.

Our ultimate goal in this sector is to create a conducive environment for private sector participation which will eventually drive the State’s tourism development agenda. Our efforts have not gone unnoticed as we have witnessed substantial interest from the corporate world in terms of event sponsorships and brand associations. We have also awarded contractsfor preliminary development of tour sites across the State to drive tourist traffic to other parts of the state.

Investment Promotion

The Investment Promotion Bureau had a stellar performance in the 2012 fiscal year attracting substantial long-term investors whose activities will considerably impact on the growth of our economy. For instance, WILMAR Palm Plantation has commenced the development of 25,000 hectres of oil palm plantation with associated oil palm milling and refinery operations valued at over $200 million in the State.

In 2012, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) portfolio was expanded from N750 million to $1.5 billion, while the Microfinance Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA) implemented new initiatives for entrepreneurial development and agro business support for women and young people.

In the year under review, the Microfinance Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA) established and implemented programmes in various sectors of the State economy. These included CRSG – BOI MSME Fund, the CBN/Entrepreneurship Development Centre, the Yam Farmers programme and the Federal Government “Youwin” programme among others.

Other measures have been taken to ensure that Cross River is the destination of choice for FDI coming to Nigeria. Work on the Paradise Power Plant commenced in the last quarter of this year and we are liaising with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to execute plans for the capital and maintenance dredging of the Calabar channel to accommodate large vessels. All of which is in line with our ability to attract the right kind of investment which will complement our efforts at economic development.

Lands and Housing

In 2012, the Ministry of Lands and Housing was allocated N829,541,140.44to carry out its programmes and activities. During the period under review, the Ministry completed the computerization and documentation of survey records, strengthenedthe Geographical Information Service (GIS) and Lands Information Service (LIS).

It also acquired 40,000hectres of land and has renewed allocations.It also enhanced revenue by over 100% and has been leading the charge to ensure that the Perimeter and Topographical survey of the major state projects such as the Calabar International Convention Centre.

Forestry, Bio-diversity and Environment

Mr. Speaker, distinguished Honourable members, our position as one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hot spots and indeed the oasis for environmental conservation in Nigeria has been bolstered. We have signed the REDD+ agreement and action plan with the Federal Ministry of Environment and the United Nations through the UNDP.Our commitment to protecting our forests has ensured that we have consolidated on our gains in the UNFCCC forum and strengthened our relationships with important development partners.

In 2012, forest communities were compensated with loyalty payments while more communities were identified to participate in REDD+ activities. These include Etara, AgoiEkuri-Eyeyen, Iko-Ekperem and Owai communities.

In 2012, the Ministry of Environment developed a functional State policy on the Environment and engaged consultants for the study and design of 10 additional erosion sites across the State for the second phase of the World Bank sponsored Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP). Engineering Designs for 4 critical gully erosion sites in Calabar, the State Capital have been accepted and approved by the project for intervention in the first quarter of next year.

Whilst sustaining the tree planting campaign aimed at checking adverse effects of climate change, the Government is in the process of procuring contractors to drive the Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Waste Evacuation in Calabar.

Mortgage Finance & Estate Development

The State Government faced head-on, the challenge of affordable housing as units were delivered to civil servants across the three senatorial Districts of the State. TheAkpabuyo Phase I, comprising 200 units is near completion while work on the Ikom, Ogoja, Obudu, Ugep and Odukpani estates have just commenced.

Planning and Budgeting

Within the period under review, the State Planning Commission established the State Bureau of Statistics and an ActingStatistician-General was appointed to head the Bureau. Also, the Commission concluded the preparation of CR-LEEDs (Local Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy), including the Monitoring and Evaluation of CRS Medium Term Action Plan 2009-2012.

The Commission, in 2012, produced both the 5th edition of the bi-annual state Economic Performance Review reports, the second CRS Community Scorecard and the Cross River State Development Status Survey.
Our resolve to ensure the adoption of global best practice in our Budgeting system received a boost during the year with the establishment of a Budget cadre in the State civil service.

The department of Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation is currently providing support to the Management Development Institute (MDI) to build capacity for this crop of civil servants while our commitment to transparency has witnessed a tremendous scale up with the stakeholders’ consultative forum where opportunity was given to the public to make inputs into the 2013 Budget.

International Development Co-operation

Our partnership with the various development partners such as UNICEF, UNDP, EU and the World Bank has reaped dividends as we are beginning to see meaningful transformations resulting from projects which have been implemented with these partnerships. The Etung Pilot MPP 9 projects, the EU funded SRIP (Support to Reforming Institutions Programme) and the WSSSRP (Water supply and Sanitation Sector Reforms Programme) were stimulated by the acknowledged reforms in procurement and accountability in public sector governance at State and Local Government levels.

Infrastructural Development

In 2012, we earmarked N33,024,286,094.24 (Thirty-Three Billion, Twenty-Four Million, Two Hundred and Eighty-Six Thousand, Ninety-Four Naira, Twenty-Four Kobo) to address projects bordering on roads, bridges, water and public transportation.

Our efforts yielded appreciable dividends in this sub-sector in 2012. The Margaret Ekpo Airport by-pass road has reached 30% completion. Calabar Urban roads phase II have attained 55% completion while Ugep, Obudu, Ikomand Ogoja Urban roads have achieved 30, 75,23 and 35 percentage completion respectively.

We have also continued to maintain the Federal Road infrastructure in the State. Suffice to say that the assumption of this responsibility has impacted negatively on our lean resources.

Public Transportation

Several reforms were carried out in 2012 to enhance transport administration in the State. Soft-ware and hardware equipment for transport data administration were acquired in the year under review. The Department for Public Transportation has also instituted the training of special marshals which has gone some way to alleviating traffic congestion in the State capital as well as an in-depth road-user education scheme to make our roads safer for all users.

Rural Roads:A provision of N5,483,000,000.00 (FiveBillion, Four Hundred and Eighty-Three Million Naira) was earmarked as counterpart funds for the completion of Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) roads spread across the State. As at the third quarter, average completion is 52%.

Also, the Rural Development Agency had a budgetary provision of N5,710,279,871.58 (Five Billion, Seven Hundred and Ten Million, Two Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy-One Naira, Fifty-Eight Kobo) to facilitate the completion of on-going rural roads. As at the third quarter, we had recorded an average completion of over 85%.

Electrification

Phases I and II project sites which consisted of 82 projects had been completed, except for three sites which are still outstanding due to bad terrain. Most of the completed projects had been linked to the national grid and subsequently put to use.

In the year under review, 18 project sites were awarded at a total cost of N1,458,443,458.75 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Fifty-Eight Million, Four Hundred and Forty-Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-Eight Naira, Seventy-Five Kobo). It is my belief that all jobs already awarded shall be completed in the first Quarter of next year.

The Calabar Convention Centre

The piling works at the Calabar International Convention Centre have been completed whilst roads construction and civil works have commenced in earnest. Work on the Tinapa knowledge Centre has equally commenced. We expect that these legacy projects would be driven to near completion in the coming year.

SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR

Education

Our transformation agenda continues to focus on education as a veritable tool for sustainable socio-economic transformation of our society. It is in recognition of this vital role that we are determined to increase access to qualitative education for our people, thus laying a solid foundation for a dynamic service-driven economy of the future.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform you that our initiatives in the education sector have started yielding dividends as evidenced in the performance of our students in the 2011/2012 May/June WAEC, SSCE Examinations where 56.03% of those who took the examinations had 5 credits including English and Mathematics, while over 80% had 5 credits and above.

We have commenced procurement processes for the comprehensive renovation of 40 secondary schools, while the equipping and furnishing of laboratories in 60 schools is on-going. We have also procured furniture for the students and teachers as part of the school rehabilitation programme and we have also as undertake several capacity building programmes for teachers.

The State has not only funded the development of the College of Education, Akamkpa but has been able to reposition the Cross River University of Technology as an institution for the future as over 90% of its programmes have acquired both NUC and NBTE accreditations.

Health

Another sector which will determine the impact and sustainability of our development agenda is the access to quality health care at all levels. In 2012, the State complemented its partnership with the TulsiChanrai foundation and scaled up the collaborative primary healthcare restructuring programme to cover additional Local Government Areas in the State.

The State has equally collaborated with the Medical and Dental Council to enhance facilities for the accreditation of General Hospitals in Calabar, Ugep and Ogoja to serve as centres for the training of resident medical doctors. The state has also completed the furnishing and equipping of the recently refurbished Odukpani general hospital.

In a bid to strengthen the capacity and we have renovated the College of Technology and upgraded the laboratories in conjunction with CIDA and we have received accreditation from the National Medical Laboratories Sciences Council for this institution.

Water Resources

This year saw the establishment of the Ministry of Water Resources which is mandated to drive the process of providing potable water in the State as well as monitor standards with regards to environmental, water pollutionand sanitation Policy.

Within the period under review, the Ministry completed the rehabilitation projects in Ogoja, Obudu, Itigidi and Ikom, all of which are being test-run and integrated into the existing scheme. The Ikom and Itigidi water schemes phase I valued at N5.4 billion, commenced on March 30, 2012 and has reached 85% completion while four out of the five WSSSRP projects, co-funded by the EU, have been completed and ready for commissioning, amongst sundry other projects.

Information

In 2012, the Ministry of Information recorded landmarkfigures with respect to the publication and circulation of the Daily News bulletin, Giant Strides and the ‘Across the State’ radio programme.

Plans are on-going for the acquisition of modern, State-of-the art colour separation equipment for the Newspaper Corporation which should enable it resume daily publication of the Nigeria Chronicle.

In a bold determination to streamline out-door advertising in the State, a new agency – the Cross River State Signage and Advertisement Agency (CRISSAA) was established via Law No.8 of 2011. This agency shall streamline and rationalise all out-door advertising and signage with a view to maintaining the aesthetic equity of our towns and cities as well as generating revenue for the State.

Youth and Sports Development

In the light of the success and consequent expansion of our Comprehensive Sports Development Programme, it has become necessary to expand the relevant infrastructure for the programme to cover the State. In 2012, we awarded contracts for the construction of two modern 6,000-capacity stadia in Ogoja and Ikom. Work has since commenced at the Ikom stadium while the Ogoja project,which was delayed by issues on site, shall commence forthwith.

High quality, international standard sports equipment was procured for this programme and will be distributed to six centres of sports excellence, as well as the U. J Esuene stadium. There has been a tangible improvement in the performance of our athletes.

Our State has increasingly become a destination for sporting events in Nigeria. In 2012, apart from the CRS/AFN All Athletics Championship/Olympics Trials, we hosted all our national teams as well as the Super Eagles matches that qualified the team for the African Cup of Nations and has also put the nation on course towards qualification for the World cup in 2014. We also hosted the Camping and Qualifiers of the National U-17 Team, the Chief of NAVAL Staff Swimming Championships and the Nigeria Air-force Games.

In the year under review, we successfully bidfor and won the hosting rights for the 2014 World Mountain Race Championship.A great feat for an African country and indeed a state such as ours.

Women Affairs

In 2012, the Ministry of Women Affairs carried out needs assessment in respect of 10 cottage industries with a view to resuscitating them. It also collaborated with and participated in the training of 19 women by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and conducted a survey on 540 women in agriculture in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

The Ministry developed the capacity of members of the Children’s Parliament, gave charitable material support to 10 Triplet families across the State as well as hosted several capacity skills development workshops/seminars for the benefit of our women.

Social Welfare and Community Development

The State placed high premium on gender mainstreaming and took adequate care of the aged and vulnerable groups in 2012. The scope of projects HOPE and COMFORT were expanded in 2012 to benefit more vulnerable persons with project HOPE extended to all general hospitals in the state.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

Procurement Process

It is in a bid to facilitate efficiency in the public service and minimize cost that government created the Department of Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau. This department which anchors on the tripod of Transparency, Accountability and Integrity has established an ethos of prudence and veracity in the procurement and contractual procedures of the State.

Civil Service Reforms

Significant gains have also been made by the Office of the Head of Service which, in 2012, was able to re-orient, re-vitalise and re-engineer the service through quality capacity building of at least 60% of the State’s workforce. Theresulting adoption of aworld class Human Resource and Performance Management Architecture as well as an efficient reward and sanction System has become a benchmarking model in Nigeria.

Security

We, in Cross River, have had a long-standing reputation as the safest and most secure state in the country. In the year under review, the State Government took on measures to further emphasise this characteristic as a beautiful and peaceful destination for all. We achieved this relative peace through robust partnership with the Nigeria Police, the Forces with bases here in Cross River as well as other security agencies. We up-scaled the State Emergency Response unit by incorporating a Quick Intervention Squad (QIS) supported by the most efficient and sophisticated ICT backbone in the country. We also procure vehicles to support the work of the Nigerian Police Force.

The Legislature

The collaboration with the legislature to serve our people has continued with the sustenance of a fruitful and collaborative working relationship. This house can testify to the fact that the support it receives from the executive as it expedites its duties is unflinching.

Judiciary

The year under review heralded the introduction of a New Chief Judge for Cross River State and saw the execution and completion of several projects related to the work of the Judiciary including the multi-door court and the Judiciary quarters in Obudu, Ogoja, Ikom and Obubra, which were all renovated to ensure that the members of the judiciary who require these facilities have comfortable accommodation as they expedite their duties.

2013 BUDGET
Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, in 2013, we intend to consolidate on the gains made in 2012, as we strive to deliver quality service to our people.

We have tried to ensure that the public expenditure structure that prioritises a higher capital expenditureover recurrent. As a deliberate principle, we strive to maintain capital/recurrent budget ratio of 70%: 30%. This not only emphasises the importance of prudence but also demonstrates the state’s commitment to ensure that more of our financial resources are devoted to developmental projects and programmes.

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to building Cross River State and to leaving behind enduring legacies for generation yet unborn.

It is on this premise that I present to you the 2013 budget which is tagged BUDGET OF DELIVERY.

In this budgetary cycle, we are committed to:

(a) Intensifying our efforts at meeting our recurrent obligations by exploring the vast potential available for Internal Revenue Generation.

(b) Ensuring that we leverage on the comparative advantage we enjoy in agriculture and tourism to create job opportunities for our growing youth population.

(c) Creating a conducive environment for local and foreign direct investment and;

(d) Developing our social and economic infrastructure to support development of the State in all ramifications.

Consequently, we have a proposed budget size of N151,376,066,780.75 (One Hundred and Fifty-One Billion, Three Hundred and Seventy-Six Million, Sixty-Six Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eighty Naira, Seventy-five kobo). Seventy percent of this shall service Capital expenditure requirements while thirty percent is set aside for recurrent needs.

This we hope to achieve by raising N71,145,702,146.74 (Seventy-One Billion, One Hundred and Forty-Five Million, Seven Hundred and Two Thousand, One Hundred and Forty-SixNaira, Seventy-four kobo) from recurrent sources, N75,730,364,634.01 (Seventy-Five Billion, Seven Hundred and Thirty Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirty-Four Naira, one kobo) from Capital receipts and an estimated opening balance of N4,500,000,000 (Four Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira).

The breakdown of the anticipated inflows is as follows:


Sector

Recurrent Revenue

Capital Receipts

Total Inflow

Economic

63,464,141,286.66

54,506,592,586.03

117,970,733,872.69

Social Services

2,620,601,227.91

4,068,293,586.66

6,688,894,814.57

Regional Development

4,405,485,848.42

10,635,040,368.82

15,040,526,217.24

General Administration

655,473,783.75

11,020,438,092.50

11,675,911,876.25

Total

71,145,702,146.74

80,230,364,634.01

151,376,066,780.75

Mr. Speaker, we are proposing the following distribution of our resources:

Sector

Total Recurrent Expenditure

Capital Expenditure

Total

Budget

%

of Budget

Economic

11,967,424,665.54

68,530,314,197.49

80,497,738,863.09

53

Social Services

17,433,589,831.03

14,786,628,266.06

32,220,218,097.09

21

Regional Development

1,538,769,471.35

9,260,336,564.04

10,799,106,035.39

7

General Administration

14,627,752,508.08

13,231,251,277.16

27,859,003,785.24

19

Total outflow

45,567,536,476.00

105,808,530,304.75

151,376,066,780.75

100

The Economic Sector which has the highest allocation is expected to

The Economic Sector which has the highest allocation is expected to stimulate real growth and create tangible value to facilitate employment and overall economic development.

Further highlights of the above provision are as follows:

Agriculture

In 2013, the State shall continue its partnership with the Federal government to boost the production of maize, rice, cocoa, and cassava which we know our State comparative advantage.

We recognize that our farmers need timely access to affordable credit to enable them increase their productivity. This affordable credit is critical, especially after such a devastating flood disaster that has ravaged farmlands across the State.

In 2013, we shall commence the disbursement of N2 billion under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) to farmers and food processors in Cross River.

As a Government, we recognize the importance of strengthening our agricultural support system. This will enable us to substantially increasing agricultural produce from the State and exploit value addition initiatives. We also intend to invest in the state’s production capacity of livestock and fisheries in 2013.

We have re-organised the Cross River Agricultural and Rural Empowerment Scheme (CARES) which is now under the supervision of a government appointed board charged with administering the affairs of the scheme.

The new CARES will be responsible for forming, organizing and managingthe out-growers and small holders’ schemes for the big commercial farms in the State.

In 2013, the Integrated World Class Centre for Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship being developed at Abi in partnership with Songhai Regional Centre in Port Novo, Benin Republic is expected to be completed. The Centre will contribute to the State’s efforts at transforming the agricultural sector by gainfully engaging the youth population and consequently help in the reduction of rural poverty.

In order to meet the Millennium Development Goals 3, the Government intends to continue the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through the establishment of PROJECT AWAKE, which set up to provide soft loans to women in agribusiness.

To accomplish our lofty yet achievable plans for the agriculture sub-sector, the sum ofN2,948,646,754.7 (Two billion, nine hundred and forty eight million, six hundred and forty six thousand, seven hundred and fifty-four naira, seventy seven kobo) is provided in the 2013 fiscal year.

Forestry, Bio-diversity and Environment

Mr. Speaker, following our fervent participation in and endorsement of the agreement on the UN REDD National Programme, our steady journey to a high value, low carbon economyis well on course.

Already, our reputation as the benchmark for environmental excellence has become a much emulated model in Nigeria. In this vein we are planning to support the UN REDD Programme by providing accommodation and other sundry logistics to facilitate the smooth and immediate set-up of their offices in the State.

The strategy of up-scaling the implementation of the REDD programme is a necessity of the investment phase of the adoption process for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which we will vigorously pursue in 2013. All of this will occur as part of our efforts at bolstering the use of renewable energy.

It is our belief that our commitment to due process, transparency and accountability will encourage donor support to help drive the CDM and allied conservation measures.

To enhance our carbon stock and by extension earnings therefrom, the State ecological restoration programme will be enthusiasticallypursued. This alloyed to capacity building of our Forest Commission staff and participants within the forest communities will mean that we will be able to sustain our premier beneficiary status in the UN REDD+ Programme.It is the view of government that effective forest conservation and protection hold the key to the success of the low carbon initiative.

In 2013, Government intends to review all existing Environmental Laws in accordance with the new policy on Environment and re-organize environmental institutions where necessary. We shall also carry out flood and Erosion Control, Climate Change activities and Waste Management.

Government shall put in place a community led forest protection and conservation mechanism in 2013. We are, therefore, proposing the sum of N2,288,105,388.3 (Two billion, two hundred and eighty-eight million, one hundred and five thousand, three hundred and eighty-eight naira, three kobo) to address all issues relating to Forestry, Biodiversity & Environment in 2013.
Tourism Development

Our reputation as the premier destination for business and leisure in Nigeria has become fully established.

We are beginning to attract attention beyond the shores of Nigeria and thus must, therefore, improve facilities to cope with this rising profile of Cross River State as a tourist destination.

To complement the existing tourism offering and keep up the tempo of development, we have earmarked N1,239,758,191.08(One billion, Two Hundred and thirty-nine million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-eight thousand, One Hundred and Ninety one Naira and eight kobo) for the sector.

DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE

(a) Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) and Access Road.

The development of the CICC is based on the premise that a tourist destination such as Calabar should have an appropriate facility to host the increasing number of conferences, exhibitions, meetings and events which have, over the years, become common place in the State capital.

When completed and fully operational, the 2000-seater CICC, which is designed to be equipped with state of the art amenities and multi-functional spaces, is expected to significantly increase the number of visitors to the State and thus result in the attendant positive externalities for the economy of the State.

In anticipation of the increased activity resulting from the CICC, we intend to complement this facility with the construction of a 200-room, 4-star hotel within the proximity of the centre which will be built in a PPP with hospitality sector investors

(b) New Calabar Golf Course

In furtherance of efforts to strategically position the State as preferred MICE destination in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, certain projects and programmes that will attract both leisure and business visitors to Calabar by adding value to the visitor experience have also been identified. Amongst these, is an international championship golf course in close proximity to the CICC.

All of these initiatives are also part of a city expansion plan that will see a new development area established in Calabar to bring the Tinapa axis closer to the city. To this end, a high brow Residential Estate is being planned and designed as a PPP with government providing land and allied infrastructure.

(c) The Calabar Riviera Resort

The Marina waterfront is being developed into a premier, upscale destination resort meant to attract and accommodate high net worth visitors to Calabar. The Calabar Riviera Club, Resort and Spa is a vision which will enhance and project the inherent beauty, serenity and hospitality of Calabar, and indeed, Cross River State.

(d)Calabar Specialist Hospital

In a bid to plug the yawning healthcare gap existing in the state and country, this administration has identified the need to develop a specialist hospital in Calabar. Therationale is to develop a commercially viable healthcare facility through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) that will provide quality medical service and to some way to mitigate the rate of medical tourism out of Nigeria.

Mr. Speaker, besides the strategic infrastructure, the State shall continue to develop the Calabar Festival and we are determined to continue our sponsorshipcommitment to the Annual Obudu Mountain Race. It is our intention that these obligations will be met with the sum of N10,729,018,466.05 (Ten billion, seven hundred and twenty-nine million, eighteen thousand, four hundred and sixty-six naira, five kobo).
Investment Promotion

With an aggressive and well packaged policy and incentives framework in place, the State is now positioned to attract foreign participation in our bid to grow the economy of the State. We expect the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) portfolio to further expand to $3 billion from the current $1.5 billion.

We equally expect to complete the Paradise Power Plant in 2013. In 2013, MEDA shall drive programmes aimed at attitudinal changes for in and out of school youth, capacity building for process improvement and marketing and infrastructural support. These projects would be implemented in collaboration with the CBN, Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the World Bank.

Infrastructure Development (Roads and Bridges)

We shall ensure that all on-going infrastructural projects are energetically pursued and brought closer to completion in 2013. We are setting aside the sum of N23,596,840,354.09(Twenty three billion, five hundred and ninety six million, eight hundred and forty thousand, three hundred and fifty four naira and nine kobo) to service projects related to roads, bridges, and public transportation.

We expect that several roadswill be completed and commissioned in 2013. Also, Margaret Ekpo Airport by-pass, the Nyaghasang roads, urban Renewal Projects in Calabar, Ugep, Ekori, Obubra, Ikom, Ogoja, Bekwarra and Obudu shall be carried to logical conclusion early in 2014.

We shall continue the construction of Boki network of roads, Okundi-Agbotai-Nsofang-Mkpot Road, Channel 2 underground drainage in Calabar and complete six erosion control sites across the State. The Road Maintenance Agency is expected to expand its activities beyond Calabar in the execution of its mandate.

We shall also complete all on-going Rural Development Agency’s (RUDA) roads network at our rural communities. Our intervention at the rural level is to open up such areas to appreciate commerce and agro potentials which abound in our hinterlands.The Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) is still on-going with the Cross River State Government commitment set at 65% of the total cost due to our persistent demand for the quality of asphalt roads to be maintained.

Electrification

In 2013, 36 Electrification project sites have been earmarked for execution. Also, we expect to rehabilitate 50 broken down sub-stations, including the construction of new relief substations and rehabilitation of 150km of failed networks across the State. The sum of N5, 781,722,875.93 (Four billion, Seven hundred and eighty-one million, Seven hundred and twenty-two thousand, eight hundred and seventy five naira, Ninety-three kobo)to this sub-sector.

SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR

Education

Mr. Speaker, distinguished Honourable members, as stated earlier, our huge investment in the sub-sector has began to yield desired results, as evidenced in the performance of our students in the 2011/2012 May/June WAEC SSCE.

In 2013, we hope to expand access to qualitative education through the establishment of a State Polytechnic at Ugep.The bill to establishment the Polytechnic is already receiving the attention of this Honourable House. We also intend to meet our counterpart funding obligations in respect of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme.

We shall not shy away from our obligations to the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH). The assorted challenges confronting the university as identified by a recent visitation panel and facility Tour of the institution will be addressed systematically and sustainably. We equally expect that the university will further strengthen its revenue base to play a more complementary role in its funding.

Mr. Speaker, in order to achieve our vision and reach our target for the education sector which we consider as pivotalto our transformation agenda, we propose to spend a total of N19,622,904,372.11 (Nineteen Billion, six hundred and twenty two million, nine hundred and four thousand, three hundred and seventy two naira and eleven kobo) in the sector in 2013.

Health

We will continue our deliberate commitment to the delivery of quality healthcare to the citizenry. To boost the healthcare delivery to our citizens, government will focus on both primary and secondary healthcare.We have, therefore, provided the sum of N7,812,145,281.95 (seven billion eight hundred and twelve million, one hundred and forty five thousand, two hundred and eight-one naira and ninety five kobo) to service both capital and recurrent needs of the Ministry of Health in this 2013 Appropriation Bill.

This amount will ensure that we can sustain the activities of project HOPE as we seek to provide free Healthcare to all expectant mothers and children under 5 years, further our partnership with the TulsiChanrai Foundation, up-grade health facilities, support our HIV/AIDS’ intervention activities and equip more General Hospitals in the State. All of which will bolster our attempts at meeting the Millennium Development Goals as a State irrespective of the country’s performance in this regard.

Water Resources

In 2013, we are making a provision ofN6,545,262,019.63 (Six billion, Five hundred and Forty-five million, two hundred and sixty-two thousand, nineteen naira, thirteen kobo) for projects in the water sub-sector. This amount is intended to consolidate gains made in 2012 as well as intervene in the urban, small-towns as well as rural areas, including sanitation and hygiene components. We expect that Phase I of the Ikom water supply scheme will be commenced in the course of the year.

Information

The Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation now reaches all corners of the state and we seek to expand its reach. In 2013, the State government shall ensure that we procure modern, state-of-the-art printing Equipment for the Cross River State Newspaper Corporation. With enhanced funding, the Corporation shall be expected to print daily and ensure effective coverage and increased circulation in the State.

Conscious efforts would be made and mechanisms put in place to sustain the publication of the Daily News Bulletin, the Kaleidoscope, Giant Strides and the “Across the State’ Cross River Radio Programme.

In 2013, the Cross River State Signage & Advertisement Agency (CRISSAA) shall be expected to swing into action by regulating and monitoring out-door signage and advertising activity across the State.
The sum of N1,737,872,762.63(One billion, seven hundred and thirty-seven million, eight hundred and seventy-two thousand, seven hundred and sixty two naira sixty-one kobo) has been provided for this sub-sector in the 2013 budget.

Youth and Sports Development

Again, this is another area where our main focus in 2013 fiscal year is to consolidate on the gains of 2012, with specific emphasis on redefining the functions and programmes of the youth department of the Ministry for improved and effective outcomes. We intend to do this by first producing a State defined youth policy documentarticulate our desire to build adequate capacity in that department to run its programmes in a sustainable manner.

On sports development, the Ministry of Youth and sports is expected to continue to harness and develop the talents of both the elite and young school athletes in a progressive and sustainable approach through the State’s Comprehensive sports Development which is already making noticeable progress.

We shall also improve facilities in the six schools selected as centres of sports excellence as well as other centres earmarked for hosting various activities as part of the 2014 National Sports Festival.

As we also prepare to host the world in the Obudu Mountain Running Championship in 2014, we will remain focused to ensure that all infrastructural requirements are put in place to ensure successful hosting of this international competition. We have, therefore, provided the sum of N3, 047,295,680.42(Three billion, forty-seven million, two hundred and ninety five thousand, six hundred and eight naira and forty two kobo) for the sector in this 2013 Appropriation Bill.

Women Affairs

The Ministry of Women Affairs shall be expected to co-ordinate training and other empowerment initiatives for women, children and the vulnerable in the society.

The Ministry shall also be expected to resuscitate cottage industries, train and equip women groups as well as improve access to affordable credit for their businesses to enable them to contribute towards the economic growth and development of the State.

Department of Mineral Resources

We are working to diversify the economy of the State by tapping into resources which hitherto were unexplored. The state is endowed with numerous solid and gaseous minerals. We shall carry out comprehensive mineral mapping of the State and facilitate the passage of the Mineral Resources Bill by the Cross River State House of Assembly in 2013.

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT (Lands, Sewage & Drainage)

We have provided the sum of N4,253,844,016.26(Four billion, Two hundred and fifty three million, eight hundred and forty-four thousand, sixteen naira and twenty six kobo) for the Ministry of Lands and Housing to complete three General Hospitals in Boje, Obudu, and Abuochiche.

The amount appropriated shall also service the construction of Governor’s Lodge in Ogoja, and ensure the completion of five High Court complexes amongst others. Provision has also been made for the acquisition of additional land banks for development to meet the growing demand. Emphasis will be given to the enforcement of development control regulations.

Projects/Programmes Monitoring

I have directed the department to intensify both existing and innovative project Monitoring & Evaluation methods and technologies to ensure timely delivery of projects/programmes in order toreduce the probability of failed contracts etc.

Special Projects

Work on the Ogoja and Ikom stadia is expected to have progressed considerably in 2013, while work will reach advanced state in the construction of the Local Government Service Commission and Pensions Board Secretariat, the CRUTECH Multi-Purpose Hall and the Monorail Link between the Calabar International Convention Centre and Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort. Work shall also commence on the three model secondary schools, the Cross River State Polytechnic, Ugep and the Completion of Abuja Liaison Office and Guest House Complex.

The sum of N9,856,242,124.55 (Nine billion, Eight hundred and Fifty-six million, Two hundred and Forty-two thousand, One hundred and Twenty-four naira, Fifty-five kobo) has been provided for all these projects in the 2013 Appropriation Bill.

Mortgage Finance and Estate Development

We have commenced the process of handing over the keys of the residences at the new Akpabuyodevelopment estate to the new owners and we intend to commence its replication in Ikom, Ogoja, Obudu, Odukpani and Ugep in 2013.To bring these to fruition, the sum ofN1,294,520,480.17( One billion, two hundred and ninety-four million, five hundred and twenty thousand, four hundred and eighty naira and seventeen) is provided to drive the sector in 2013.

Debt Management Department

The sum of N13,500,000,000 (Thirteen billion, Five hundred million Naira) is being set aside for Debt servicing in 2013. This is expected to service both internal and our external loan obligations which have become due.We shall focus on the implementation of the legal framework for the Debt Management Department; while carrying outa frequent interactive forum with stakeholders amongst others.
General Administration

Mr. Speaker, this administration does not intend to rest on its laurels with respect to improving the productivity, performance, accountability, transparency and integrity of the State workforce.

In our bid to facilitate efficiency in the public service and minimize cost government created and supported the department of Due Process and Price Intelligence. The work of this department in assisting the general drive for fiscal responsibility and as the last check for procurement effectiveness and contractual prudence cannot be overstated. The reforms being introduced by the Office of Head of service, coupled with the consistent training and re-training should reinstate our leadership status as a model amongst states in the federation.

In 2013, the Office of the Head of Service shall embark on a comprehensive programme of accelerated and extensive competency-based training for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), up-grade the Management development Institute to an internationally reputable standard and judiciously monitor the newly introduced reward and sanction system to promote excellence in the State Service.

Security

The fact that Cross River is one of the safest States in the country is known to all. Security shall remain our topmost priority especially in the light of all our efforts at driving tourism to the state. It is paramount considering the destination brand which we have meticulously and deliberately created in the minds of visitors, tourists, business associates and development partners.

We shall continue to improve upon our intelligence gathering, capacity building and empowerment of security agencies and their operatives, to maintain the peace and sustain safety and security of our state. Pursuant to this, we shall strengthen and support the State command of Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other Military and Paramilitary formations in the State, including our Emergency Response Centre, to tackle crime in all its ramifications.

The Legislature

As stated earlier Cross River State presents perhaps the best example of co-operation and collaboration between the executive and legislature that might exist in the country. This symbiosis has remained important as both arms of government expedite their duties to serve the good people of our state. In this regard, a provision of N1,719,768,675.74( One billion, seven hundred and nineteen million, seven hundred and sixty eight thousand, six hundred and seventy five naira, seventy four kobo) has been made to cater for the recurrent and capital needs of the House of Assembly in 2013.

Judiciary

The three arms of Government must collaborate to strengthen the institution of democracy. This is to ensure the realisation of the objective of the all – important check and balance system amongst the various tiers of Government

In 2013, we shall complete the rehabilitation of Judges Quarters, support the digitalisation of court proceedings, and bolster the role of the judiciary to play an active role in the process of governance. The Cross River judiciary is faced with a new dawn and a visionary emphasis on the swift and expedient delivery of justice to every Cross Riverian. Accordingly, the sum of N1,068,943,625.87 has been provided for both capital and recurrent needs of the judiciary.

Conclusion

Mr. Speaker, distinguished Honourable members, we cannot conceal the fact that our State is going through very challenging and inauspicious times. It is important that we are undeterred from our vision of creating a better Cross River for the generations to come. We have made great strides in spite of the adverse financial conditions. Frankly, this administration has been spurred on this challenge to qualitatively and quantitatively impact the lives of all Cross Riverians. We have made sacrifices and we are willing to make even more in order to realise this vision.

We will be unflinching in our determination to do our best for our people.There is room for improvement as we aim to do more for our citizenry. I, therefore, solicit your support and understanding. I want to particularly express my administration’s appreciation for you characteristic collaboration and co-operation.

Thank you for your kind attention and the usual assurances of expedient consideration of this Appropriation Bill.

Thank you and God bless.

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