Cross River State Budget 2014 Speech by Gov Liyel Imoke

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Speaker, Larry Odey (L), Gov Imoke (M) and Deputy Speaker, Asuquo Nyong shortly after the budget presentation in Calabar
Speaker, Larry Odey (L), Gov Imoke (M) and Deputy Speaker, Asuquo Nyong shortly after the budget presentation in Calabar

CROSS RIVER STATE BUDGET SPEECH 2014

DELIVERED BY

HIS EXCELLENCY,
SENATOR LIYEL IMOKE, CON, GOVERNOR, CROSS RIVER STATE

ON

30th OCTOBER, 2013

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Hon. Members
of the Cross River State House of Assembly

Fellow Cross Riverians,

I am here, once again, to present to this Honourable House, the State’s Appropriation Bill for consideration and subsequent passage.

The annual budget presentation conveys much more than just an opportunity for this house and its members to exercise their oversight function. It is a regular, well-orchestrated opportunity for this administration to intimate the house and the good people of our state of not only our intentions for the development of our state but also the motivations behind those intentions and actions which we have engaged in to facilitate the socio-economic enhancement of our people.

This presentation epitomizes the unparalleled and unprecedented level of collaboration between all the three arms of government as we unify our efforts for the benefit of all Cross Riverians. It is indeed a testament to the true representative democracy we enjoy here in Cross River. Today’s is also poignant as it marks the penultimate budget presentation of this administration and represents an aggregation of all our cumulative efforts thus far at attaining our aim of bringing Cross River closer to the service-driven economy we all desire it to be. It is for these reasons that I am honoured to present to the House and the good people of Cross River, the estimates of the 2014 fiscal year.

As always, we continue to count on the characteristic maturity, dedication and co-operation of the house which we have richly enjoyed in that past few years.

I shall continue to covet your collaboration as we weather the storms occasioned by the prevailing financial challenges, especially as we inch towards the twilight of this administration.

In the past couple of years, we had made our budgets revenue driven. This approach has spread the burden of revenue generation right across all aspects of the government, in the belief that the less dependent we are on the dwindling statutory allocation, the better our prospects of socio-economic transformation.

It is my belief that a multi-sectorial approach to internal revenue generation would boost our strategic endogenous efforts at growing the state’s economy and creating jobs for our youth. It is crucial to understand the notion behind this approach. If we maintain the drive for internally-sourced revenue, we look set to meet our recurrent obligations in the very near future. As a consequence of this is, earnings from the Federation Account could be exclusively earmarked to fund development projects. The implication of this could lead to a vast increase in transformative infrastructural investment which will broaden the prospects of growth and development in Cross River.

The Medium Term Budgetary Framework (MTBF), which we adopted from the first tenure of my administration has continued to drive our development machinery, anchored on effective policy initiation, action planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. This strategy has ensured that the expenditure of our meagre resources creates the needed value addition and the attendant positive externalities which trickle down to our citizens, irrespective of where they are domiciled.

Mr. Speaker, distinguished Honourable members, I wish to re-assure you that as a government, we are committed to sustaining and even surpassing the standards of quality service delivery to our constituents which we have set thus far. We remain undeterred from meeting the expectations of the Cross Riverians right across the state and we are determined to set the right foundation upon which future foundations can build upon.

Permit me, Mr. Speaker, to give an account of our actions in the year under review.

2013 BUDGET IN RETROSPECT

Mr. Speaker, distinguished Honourable members, the 2013 budget was christened BUDGET OF DELIVERY; as an expression of our commitment towards exploring new potentials to consolidate internal inflows; leveraging on areas of comparative advantage; creating a conducive environment for Foreign Direct Investment and the development of our social infrastructure.

With a budget size of N151,087,128,603.04 (One hundred and fifty-one billion, Eighty-Seven Million, One Hundred and Twenty-eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Three Naira, Four kobo), the 2013 budget remained consistent with the 7-point agenda instituted by this administration to articulate our drive towards development in the state.

In spite of an exceedingly unpredictable fiscal climate, the state recorded landmark performances in a number of sectors of the economy including urban renewal, tourism development and agriculture. The under-listed sectoral performances are hereby highlighted for your appraisal.

Internally Generated Revenue

This administration has not relented in our pursuit to enhance our Internally Generated Revenue profile to ease our dependency on the federally allocated revenue. Consequently revenue targets are assigned to the various MDAs and their performances are constantly monitored to ensure compliance with the policies and initiatives that would guarantee that the set targets are met. Indeed, this approach has already yielded results. Our IGR profile has moved from less than 8% of our recurrent inflows in 2008 to more than 15% in the 3rd quarter of 2013.

The overhaul of the mechanisms for our internally generated revenue is backed by law and has bolstered our efforts at freeing our capital receipts from recurrent obligations. To this end, the performance of the Internal Revenue Service, and the other MDAs in meeting their revenue generation targets called for a critical re-appraisal. Recent action to re-structure the top management of the IRS is aimed at halting the nefarious decline in ethics and standards which we noticed had begun to negatively impact performance. We have thus commenced to institute new senior management at the IRS.

Reserve Fund

As a fund established for uncertainties and contingencies of the future, the state’s monthly contribution of N50 million has been fervently consistent. The monthly contribution from local government councils has remained at N18 million, thus making a total of N68 million every month. The total market value of the reserve fund currently stands at N7.8 billion as against N6.5 billion in September, 2012, representing an increase of 20%.

Agriculture

This sector still remains the mainstay of our economic growth and job creation for our youths. This is hinged upon the fact that agriculture is one of the key sectors of our economy in which we enjoy a significant comparative advantage.

As a government, we recognise the importance of strengthening our agricultural support system, thus enabling us to substantially increase agricultural produce and exploit value addition incentives.

Although our planned disbursement of N2 billion under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) to farmers in 2013 is yet to be effected, the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS), a partnership initiative with the federal government to boost the production of maize, rice, cocoa and cassava has taken off successfully.

In 2013, the state undertook to establish an integrated world class centre for Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship at Abi Local Government Area. Physical development of the project site which is to be run in partnership with Songhai Regional Centre in Port Novo, Benin Republic is underway while the training of farmers for the pilot scheme has commenced.

Also, we have embarked on a sensitisation programme for the establishment of Project AWAKE; which is designed to promote gender equality and empowerment of women as part of our efforts towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Project Awake is scheduled to fully commence before the end of 2013 with the potential to create 4000 female agriprenuers in the state over the next 3 years.

Our biggest agricultural investors, Wilmar International, have settled in and the operations are beginning to yield the expected results on the lives of the people in the rural communities within which they operate.

Forestry, Bio-diversity and Environment

Mr. Speaker, we had proposed to put in place a community driven forest protection and conservation mechanism in 2013. To facilitate this, we are already in consultation with communities to entrench participatory forest management as a way of enhancing our commitment towards sustainable management of our forest and its vast potential.

The state equally commenced the review of all existing environmental laws in accordance with the new policy on environment. A policy document to this effect is ready for presentation to the state executive council. We have worked assiduously to consolidate our enviable position as one of the 25 bio-diversity hotspots in the world, a position which has enabled us to participate as a beneficiary of the UN REDD+ carbon credit initiative.

Implementation of the approved plan for the state Integrated Waste Management Scheme (IWMS) is currently in progress. The PPP programme on waste evacuation in Calabar Metropolis started in earnest on January, 2013. The revenue generation component shall commence before the end of 2013. The development of a private sector driven sanitary landfill at Awi, which shall include waste segregation and treatment facilities shall commence in 2014. This project shall be further replicated at all urban centres of the state.

Tourism Development

This is a sector where our leadership position has remained unchallenged in Nigeria, and, we are steadily becoming a credible destination within the West African sub-region. To remain at the peak, the state’s new regulations on standards for the hospitality industry have been approved while efforts are being made to enhance our sites, making them more visitor–friendly. A framework for private sector participation is also being put in place through the “Cross River Tourism” initiative.

This partnership is aimed at achieving effective destination marketing, proper regulation of the tourism industry practitioners, the development of private enterprise in the tourism sector and the promotion of private sector investment. The draft Bill for the restoration and preservation of historical and heritage sites in the state has since been forwarded to the House of Assembly for enactment into law. This bill will promote heritage tourism utilising the substantial historical and heritage assets of the state, thus promoting tourists activity throughout the year.

The Bill also provides for the establishment of a Trust to restore, preserve and manage all heritage sites in the state for tourism purposes. We have also constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee on tour site development to facilitate the provision of infrastructure at all the listed tour sites to make them visitor ready by the end of 2014

Development of Strategic Infrastructure

As part of a coherent programme of investments and initiatives aimed at establishing Cross River State as the premier service driven economy in Nigeria, we have embarked on the new Summit Hills development which will also host a range of projects pivotal to the growth of our economy. The state, in 2013, made provisions for the development of the Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC), the new Calabar Golf Course and the Calabar Specialist Hospital, which is expected revolutionalise the delivery of specialist healthcare in the state and in Nigeria.

So far, civil works at the CICC complex is above 50% completion. The access road to the 5000 seater CICC is 90% completed, while we only recently broke ground for the commencement of construction of the specialist hospital.
Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, let me re-assure you that with your support, this administration intends to complete all on-going projects before it exits in 2015. This is my pledge.

Microfinance/Enterprise Development &Investment Promotion

In pursuance of its mandate of growing the private sector through promoting the growth and development of MSMEs in the state, and with the 1% of the monthly FAAC dedicated to her, MEDA has catered for businesses by securing fund from the CRSG-Bank Of Industry/MSME fund, and has also established a micro credit scheme with the Bank of Agriculture. Currently, the fund stands at N400 million contributed equally by the CRSG and BOA. A total of N180 million has been disbursed so far to over 2,500 enterprises. In addition to the above programmes, MEDA has granted Micro credit in the sum of N30 million and in collaboration with the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, It has trained 200 micro businesses in Calabar metropolis.

The state is hosting the regional CBN Entrepreneurship Development Centre designed to develop the capacity of at least 2,000 MSMEs and unemployed youth from the South-South region each year for the next 5 years. The centre is located in the newly commissioned PROF. EYO ITA HOUSE which was officially launched on September 2, 2013 and has already trained more than 400 young entrepreneurs.

The federal government “YouWin” programme has witnessed significant participation levels with 36 women from Cross River selected to receive grants ranging from N1 million to N10 million. In the first phase of YouWin programme, 39 young entrepreneurs from the state won grants and have established commercial outfits with the funs they received.

As part of its mandate MEDA established enterprise clubs in 20 secondary schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Inauguration of the clubs in the northern and central senatorial districts is scheduled for the last quarter of 2013.

MEDA in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has designed a vocational skills training programme for youths. The programme would train and empower about 1,000 youths every year. Already, 3,741 youths have registered for the programme while consultation with master trainers is on-going. We have also fully engaged with the federal government Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) programme supported by the World Bank. It was officially launched on September 19, 2013.

Mr. Speaker, General Electric’s Global Vice Chairman, Mr. John Rice visited Calabar on the 18th of June, 2013 to break ground for its $1 billion investment in a Multi-Modal Manufacturing and Training Facility at the Calabar Free Trade Zone. This was closely followed by a Supplier Fair on the 2nd of August, 2013 to support local content participation in the company’s supply chain.

In the interim, GE’s temporary Training Facility is to be hosted at the Government Technical College Workshop, Ikot Effanga-Mkpa; with a budget of N1billion for its refurbishment and equipping while construction of its Manufacturing/Assembly Facility will commence in 2014. The company’s direct and indirect employment generation capacity is in the region of 2,300 people and G.E has already engaged 2 young Engineering Graduates from the state as part of their career development program.

The Songhai Cross River Farm effectively kicked-off in February, 2013 with 100 Youths across the State sent to the Songhai Regional Centre, Porto Novo for training. 97 of them completed the training out of which 86 successful ones are currently undergoing training at the CBN South-South Entrepreneurship Development Centre preparatory to being engaged at the Songhai project for a one year Internship Programme during which they will be equipped to run their various enterprises and will be paid from the income accruing from their enterprises.

In partnership with ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited, we successfully hosted the African Business Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility Summit for the 3rd year in a row, bringing together the best minds in business and economic development, to engage in a progressive discourse for sustainable development. Speakers at the event included Ashish J. Thakkar, President and Founder, Mara Group of Companies and Africa’s Youngest Billionaire who is presently prospecting to invest in the establishment of an Ethanol Plant in the State using Cassava as feedstock.

Mr. Speaker, the Investment Promotion Bureau in 2013 was also engaged in driving the CRSG partnership with Oando/Lilleker to deliver a minimum of 10.4MW Gas Fired Power Plant in 12 months targeted at delivering power to the Tinapa and Summit Hills as well as other Government Infrastructure outside the cluster. Negotiation of project CAPEX/Tariff is currently ongoing preparatory to execution of Power Purchase Agreements and commencement of construction works.

The Bureau working with Aikenbeck Resources Limited saw Infrastructure development at Portside Industrial Park progressed considerably in 2013. Over N1.9 billion naira (N1,199,631,777.46) has been committed by the private sector towards the development of Portside infrastructure. This covers internal roads and drains, a major storm-water channel, a petroleum products cargo line comprising four pipelines from the NPA Calabar Port to Portside and other engineering works. It is expected that the outlay of third party private investors in Portside should surpass the N5 billion mark by the end of 2014.

Other noteworthy investments include Artee Ltd’s investment in the development of a World Class Shopping Mall and Retail outlet in Calabar. Brentex Petroleum Services Limited is investing in a 300,000 ton per annum Pipe Mill Manufacturing Plant estimated at a total cost of $150m. Ground breaking ceremony is scheduled for November, 2013 and the arrival of Brentex is expected to create 1500 job opportunities.

Eastern Premier Feed Mills is currently developing a $130 million Animal Feed Integrated Soya Mill, Pasta and Oil Palm Processing/Manufacturing Plant in Calabar, the second largest in Nigeria. The company’s employment generation capacity in the State is in excess of 300.

Bureau for Public Private Partnership

The Bureau for Public Private Partnership has rapidly become the arbiter for almost all transactions government embarks upon with the private sector. In this respect, it is fulfilling the terms of its remit. In the year in review, it oversaw the take-off of waste management under PPPs in Calabar Metropolis as well as the restructuring of the Obudu Cattle Ranch and the procurement process for the concession of pharmacies and clinical diagnostic centres across 13 General Hospitals in the State. BPPP also reviewed the financial model for the Calabar Independent Power Project (Paradise Power) with an estimated financial requirement of ₦3 billion as well as the Calabar Main Market Project estimated at ₦7 billion and PPP procurement implementation on the concession of outdoor media and signage in the State.

Lands & Housing

In 2013, the Ministry of Lands and Housing, with a budgetary allocation of N978,716,410.67 was able to renovate General Hospitals in Boje, Boki and Ukem in Odukpani Local Government Areas respectively. As stated earlier, The Ministry procured former DESAM House for the CBN-EDC Zonal Office hosted by Cross River State and also acquired parcels of land for CROSPIL Housing Estates and Stadia for Ogoja and Ikom respectively. The ministry also parcelated several plots and has commenced allocation. We are beginning to get a real appreciation for the true value of our land and the ministry is poised to exploit this to generate revenue for the state.

Mortgage Finance & Estate Development

In fulfilling the primary objectives of promoting and facilitating the provision of affordable housing units, keys have been handed over to 200 beneficiaries of the CROSPIL Housing Estate at Akpabuyo, while the development of phase 2 (completion of 410 Housing units in Akpabuyo) has commenced with site clearing, earth filling and grading achieving 95% completion. Poles planting for electrification has achieved 80% while earthworks, internal roads and drainage in phase 2 have reached 45% completion respectively. For Odukpani, Ikom and Ogoja proposed estates, 381, 161 and 160 civil servants respectively have been pre-qualified and certified financially eligible. It is my belief that the challenges of funding, compensation and infrastructure for the Ogoja, Obudu, Odukpani and Ugep proposed estates will be addressed in the near future.

Debt Management Department

In this fiscal year, 2013, the sum of N20,000,000,000.00 (Twenty Billionnaira only) was provided for debt servicing. Cross River State will continue to honour its debt obligations to creditors. So far, we have honoured our debt obligations to the tune of N15,000,000,000.00 (Fifteen Billion naira only). There is a settlement agreement proposed by Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to buy over the outstanding Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) indebtedness of N18,509,744,797.05 (Eighteen Billion, Five Hundred and Nine million, Seven Hundred and Forty-four thousand, seven hundred and ninety –seven naira and five kobo) and to invest another N26,900,000,000 (Twenty–Six Billion, Nine Hundred Million Naira) in making the Tinapa project operational and profitable. Let me, at this juncture, thank this honourable house for their support in this regard.

Planning and Budgeting

As a vehicle to actualise the best articulated and impactful socio-economic development plans, the State Planning Commission produced the Cross River State Medium Term Fiscal Strategy Paper (2013 to 2016), co-ordinated the formulation of policy positions for MDAs and undertook Joint Monitoring and Evaluation of the state action plan implementation and review meetings.

The commission, in 2013, produced the Cross River State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy 3 (CR-SEEDs 3) and the Local Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy 2 (LEEDS 2).

Our Budgetary processes have remained focused on best practices to ensure operational and allocative efficiency. Our annual budget consultative forum which brings together the various stakeholders to make their inputs into the Budget process was undertaken, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government Affairs, in the three senatorial districts in August this year.

International Development and Co-operation

Cross River State as part of the UNDAF (United Nations Development Assistance Framework), signed a Memorandum of Understanding Agreement 2013 of over N1Billion to deliver on the MDGs (Millennium Development Grants Scheme) in the Local Government Areas. In 2011 N1.8Billion (to State and LGAs-Odukpani, Yala and Boki), the projects have been delivered. In 2012 there was a N400m support to Obubra and Obalinkwu, the implementation of the projects are on-going and in 2013 N2.493B is expected for the State and Local Government Areas Akamkpa, Bakassi, Etung Ikom, Ogoja and Obudu)

A summary of the total inflow on development assistance to State for 2012 stood at N5.6Billion and by September 2013 it rose to over N8.4billion. We hope to grow the development assistance inflow by over N29billion in 2014
We have been able to sustain our reforms with SLOGOR (State and Local Government Reforms) a follow up to the State Governance alongside with YESSO became effective in August 2013. SWAp (Sector Wide Approach) remains one of the most formidable development vehicles, the Water Sector is the pilot, shortly Education and Health shall follow suit.

Let me acknowledge the UN, especially for the Delivery as One (DaO) and for creating a sub office in Cross River State. The World Bank, EU, African Development Bank, USAID, DFID and others for the growing partnership and collaboration. We are making very significant progress on our urban and rural water sanitation and hygiene.

Tremendous progress has been made on RAMP (Rural Access and Mobility Project), recent the World Bank and French Development Agency granting the State additional funding. This support will however become effective by 2016 after the comprehensive evaluation of the initial support.

The State fiscal performance is impressive, we hope Mr. Speaker to engage our partners in the annual budget process in a more strategic manner to address the obvious deficits and gaps in our budget.

Infrastructural Development (Roads & Bridges)

In 2013 fiscal year, this sector was allocated 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, Nine kobo) to service projects related to roads, bridges and public transportation.

So far, the Margaret Ekpo Airport By-pass has achieved 50% completion while the Ikot Effanga Mkpa I & II layouts and phase I of Nyaghasang roads have been completed along with several urban renewal projects in Calabar have been completed. Asphalting is also in progress for the Okuni-Agbotai-Nsofang-Mkpot road while the channel 2 underground drainage in Calabar has attained 90% completion, considerably reducing the incidence of flooding in the metropolis.

Appreciable strides have been recorded in the following urban roads: Calabar urban Lot 1 (completed), Calabar urban Lot 1B (60%), Calabar urban Lot 2 (80%), Ugep urban (60%), Ikom urban (70%) and Obudu urban (90%). The 475km Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) has achieved almost 50% completion with Cross River State bearing 67% of the cost of the roads while the African Development Bank (ADB) is footing the bill of the differential.

Electrification

Procurement processes have been completed and awards made for the 36 electrification project sites captured in the 2013 appropriation bill. The rehabilitation of the broken-down sub-stations and construction of new relief stations are also being pursued.

SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR

This sector had a provision of N32,220,218,097.09 (Thirty-two billion, Two hundred and twenty million, Two hundred and Eighteen thousand, Ninety-seven naira, Nine kobo) representing 21% of the total budget size in 2013.
The specific milestones recorded in the sector are hereunder presented.

Education

In 2013, the Ministry of Education vigorously pursued our desire to make qualitative education accessible and affordable to all our school age population, with a view to laying a solid foundation for the service-driven economy we strive to build. We have thus signed MOUs with various partners to help us achieve this aim such as the State of Maryland (as part of our sister-state programme), Highbury College of Portsmouth UK for Technical and vocational education and training as well as Educomp Solutions of India to support our ICT-enabled learning and teaching solutions.

Mr. Speaker, our huge investment in the education sub-sector has continued to yield desirable dividends as evidenced in the performance of our students in the 2011/2012, 2012/2013 May/June WASC and NECO, SSCE. One initiative which is directly responsible for this is the Teacher training and re-training programme. As a result of our interventions, we have seen an increase in student enrollment of 30% at primary school and 35% at secondary school levels.

Our partnership with Highbury College has resulted in a 5-year management contract for the newly commissioned Institute of Technology and Management situated in Ugep. I wish to commend the House for all its collaboration which has brought this initiative to fruition. We have commenced preparations for fresh local scholarship awards for 550 undergraduates and 330 postgraduates in continuation of our effort to give our brightest student the best opportunities to improve themselves. This initiative which been running since 2007 has awards schorlarships and assistance 6,788 beneficiaries amounting to N2.5 billion naira. In 2013 alone, 1042 awards have been approved amounting to N450 million naira. Despite the lean financial resources of the state, we have continued to meet our commitment towards the Universal Basic Education counterpart funding which has transformed 25% of our primary schools.

Health

In 2013, with a budgetary provision of N7,812,145,281.95 (Seven billion, Eight hundred and twelve million, One hundred and forty-five thousand, Two hundred and eighty-one naira, ninety-five kobo) the state was able to pursue both primary and secondary healthcare delivery to the citizenry. The General Hospital at Ukem in Odukpani will be commissioned within the month.

The state consolidated on its partnership with the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation to support the expansion of access to services to 14 of our 18 LGAs but also to further support Project HOPE with 154 wards covered and a total population of over 2.4 million people accessing the 643 health facilities. It is expected that another 150 facilities will be added by December 2013. The Ministry of Health has also upgraded primary health facilities, supported HIV/AIDS’ intervention activities and equipped more centers with a view to meeting and surpassing MDG targets by 2015.

The State participated in the Immunization Leadership Challenge award initiated by Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation and emerged the best performing state in the South-South Zone recording 98% coverage in Oral Polio vaccine in 2012. We have also commence activities to streamline and rationalize our schools of nursing to ensure that these institutions meet the requirements for accreditation.

Water Resources

The intervention of the Ministry of Water Resources in the urban, small-towns as well as rural areas, including sanitation and hygiene components has been significant. In the Urban Sector, the State Government funded major expansion and modernization works in Ikom and Itigidi new Schemes at the cost of N5.4 billion, with an expected total water supply of 7,000,000 liters per day. It is expected that 120,000 people would be offered access to potable water in the benefiting communities. The Semi-Urban (Small-Towns) Water Schemes in five self-selected Local Government Areas across the State were also completed and ready for handing over to the benefitting communities. This include Assiga in Yakurr L.G.A, Ofumbongha in Obubra LGA, Abia in Etung LGA and Beteriko in Boki LGA. The total investment of all these projects stood at N449 million, 50% of which was grant from the European Union (EDF). When completed, the schemes are to serve a total population of 48,000 people, offering them access to sustainable sources of potable water supply.

In the Rural Areas, CRS RUWATSSA also carried out a number of infrastructural projects serving a total population of over 2 million people from public and private Boreholes across the State. The Tulsi Charai Foundation in collaboration with CRS RUWATSSA has completing a survey of all 18 LGAs, with the training of 18 Water Supply Mechanics. In all, 369 hand pumps have been rehabilitated, granting 107,000 people access to potable water through the use of functional hand pumps and boreholes.

Special Projects

Mr. Speaker, the phase I of the Cross River State Geographic Information System (CR-GIS) is 100% completed, with a management team now in place. The Ikom and Ogoja stadia which are part of our flagship projects have progressed significantly in 2013. Whereas work has reached advanced stages of completion at the Ikom stadium, Site clearing and perimeter fencing have reached advanced stages of completion and actual construction work has commenced at the Ogoja stadium. Construction work has also commenced at the sight of the new Local Government Service Commission Secretariat while reconstruction of the multipurpose hall at CRUTECH is on-going.

The Development of the Calabar Main Market is on course. A concessionaire has been engaged, designs approved and MOU signed with stakeholders. All related land issues have been resolved, preparatory for commencement of actual construction work. The revised Calabar City Monorail to link Tinapa Business and the Summit Hills Resort has been approved and ratified for development as a turnkey Project. Already, the contract has been awarded, and work will soon commence.

Information

Mr. Speaker, the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation sustained its statewide coverage of the state in the year under review.

Also, procurement processes were concluded for the procurement of modern, state-of-the-art printing press, complete with full colour separation equipment for the Cross River State Newspaper Corporation.

In the year under review, contract was awarded for the renovation of the premises of the Cross River State Newspaper Corporation.

The Ministry of Information’s Publications: Daily News Bulletin, Giant Strides, the Kaleidoscope and the “Across the State” Radio Programme were equally sustained in 2013.

Within the year under reference, the Cross River State signage & Advertisement Agency (CRISSAA) swung into action through its mandate of monitoring and regulating out-door advert activities in the state.

Youth & Sports Development

With a budgetary provision of N3,047,295,680.42 (Three billion, Forty-seven million, Two hundred and ninety-five thousand, Six hundred and eighty naira, Forty-two kobo) the state has been able to harness and develop the talents of both the elite and young school athletes through the comprehensive sports development programme supervised by the ministry. Since its inception in 2009, over 7,859 young athletes from all the 18 LGAs have participated in the programme.

The results of this initiative have been almost instant as Cross River State is now the best at Under-17 level boxing, athletics, swimming and weightlifting. Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, our state has won the National Schools sports festival for the second year running, with our children now representing Nigeria in international competitions. All this bodes well for our hosting of the Centenary National Sports Festival next year. We are working tirelessly to deliver a spectacle like no other here in Cross River as we successfully host the country at the event. We are also glad that our national football team has, indeed, adopted the U. J. Esuene Stadium as victory arena for all its home games.

Women Affairs

The Ministry of Women Affairs as part of its mandate embarked on various initiatives to enhance the status of women and children in our society. We witnessed the facilitation and formation of 210 Women Cooperative Groups for micro credit empowerment by MEDA as well as the reactivation of Women Development Centres in Ogoja, Abi and Akamkpa. There was also significant work done to raise awareness of violence against women and children as well as the widows intervention programme through the “Giving Life Options to Widows” (GLOW) initiative run in conjunction with the with Partnership Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment Realization (POWER) NGO. Most importantly, the ministry’s efforts at gender mainstreaming has seen women’s political empowerment increase to 32% in the electoral process.

In line with the administration’s desire to create a STATE FIT FOR A CHILD, the Ministry is working assiduously to ensure that we can give all children a decent start to life. The Ministry has supported Multiple Birth Families, trained principal officers of local government children’s parliament and women development officers as well as the training of 30 family court assessors and other stake holders to enable them function effectively to reduce the cases of child abuse. It has also printed 16,000 copies of the abridged version of the Cross River State Child Rights Law 2009 to ensure that our society is aware of the importance of safeguarding the future of our children. The ministry has also undertaken care and support of 600 orphans and vulnerable children with support from SACA/World Bank as well as human trafficking activities training of 40 stakeholders in 5 endemic LGAs in collaboration with NAPTIP.

Department of Mineral Resources

Within the fiscal year under reference, a comprehensive mineral mapping of the state was achieved. Also, a mineral resources bill is being drafted, preparatory to delivery to the State House of Assembly for consideration. We are adamant to pursue a viable strategy to gain the proceeds of our natural resource endowments in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner for the benefit of our people.

Projects/Programmes Monitoring

The department of Projects Monitoring and Evaluation remained proactive in the year under review. The department introduced new innovations which reduced the probability of projects failure and waste of resources. This department is also expanding its scope to cover the activities of more MDAs as part of our drive to gain cost efficiencies and meet our performance targets.

ICT Development

In 2013, the Department of ICT succeeded in attracting investments into the state, including over N1 billion into the establishment of Primary Fibre optic infrastructure. This ongoing project will make Calabar the most wired city by coverage and support our target of making Calabar the investment destination of choice in the region.

We also succeeded in the launch of the IDEA Incubation Centre at the Tinapa Knowledge city. The incubation centre will facilitate the creation of software development firms in the region. Also, in 2013, our SmartGov.CRSG initiative; a public private partnership with Interswitch Limited, gathered appreciable steam with the completion of twelve sub-projects. During the recent Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria conference in Tinapa, Cross River became the first state to launch a fully serviced mobile application available for public download on the 3 major telecoms operating systems. The state was also recently recognized by the CBN as the number one state for electronic payments in the country. Cross River State is rapidly becoming the “silicon valley” of the South-South.

Social Welfare and Community Development

Mr. Speaker, we have continued to expand the scope of projects HOPE and COMFORT. In the year 2013 the Ministry focused on continuous sensitization and manual enrolment of pregnant women and children under five. 135,800 children and 89,000 pregnant women accessed Project HOPE. In keeping with our commitment to provide this service free to the beneficiaries, we have paid for treatment and drugs at both primary and secondary health facilities across the state. As part of the execution of Project HOPE, we have also treated 21 VVF patients.

With The Conditional Cash Transfer, we have supported a total of 2,940 core-poor households and as well as made cash transfers to Bakassi displaced persons. As at September 2013, 2500 trainable adults from beneficiary households are undergoing training in vocations of their choice. We have continued to support to the physically challenged with financial assistance, mobility aids, empowerment to start small scale enterprises totalling over N16.7 million. We have also trained and mobilized a total number of 855 indigenes of 10 Forest Communities in CRS.

All these efforts will help in achieving the MDGs of reduction of poverty and maternity and child mortality rates in the state

BORDER COMMUNITIES DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

The CRS Border Communities Development Commission this year commenced procurements valued at N878million. In the rolled-over 2012 procurement, the MDA has commenced interventions in 25 communities valued at N512million. This translates to Six police stations and ancilliary facilities, Two six classrooms blocks with ancilliary facilities, Two health centers with ancilliary facilities and the commencement of the completion of 2008 National Boundary Commission skeletal projects in the border LGAs with Cameroon to meet the Cross River State standards.

We have completed school blocks, health centres and police stations at Busi Obanliku; New Abana, Bakassi and Danare , Boki, Ifiang King Duke, Akpabuyo and Mfaminyen, Akamkpa. The MDA has also completed procurement for interventions in Ebom and Ebijakara in Abi LGA for 38 two bedrooms flats, one police post, three barracks, one primary health center, one six classroom block and two solar boreholes for water and sanitation facilities to cater for returnee Internally Displaced People. We will continue to work to ensure that no one is left behind.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

Procurement Process

As a state, we have entrenched a culture of transparency, accountability and integrity in all our procurement processes. Driving this cost-effective reform is the department of Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau. A transparent and accountable public procurement regime is a mandatory pre-requisite for us to achieve the strides we set out to reach. Our public procurement processes are underpinned by fiscal responsibility, prudent management and good governance.

CIVIL SERVICE REFORMS

Our bureaucracy is moving steadily towards increased productivity. We have committed enormous resources towards training and re-training of our workforce to ensure that it has the capacity to achieve our vision of attaining a status as Nigeria’s premier service driven economy, delivering a world class standard of Performance in public service. The adoption of World Class Human Resource and Performance Management System as well as efficient Reward and Sanction System by the office of Head of Service has become a benchmark for other state bureaucracies in Nigeria.

Security

Part of our appeal as a destination is the unrivalled level of safety and security Cross River has become known for. This year, government enhanced its support to maintain the status quo. We procured branded dedicated emergency helplines to boost the responsiveness of the Emergency Response Centre. We also issued out 25 vehicles to the Cross River State command of the Nigerian Police for Special Anti-crime patrol operations. We intend to extend the support to other security institutions within the state.

Also, we will continue to support our Emergency Response Centre staff through regular training and development opportunities. We will remain proactive to the security challenges and our interventions are intended to maintain our long-standing reputation as the safest and most secured state in the country.

The Legislature

Mr. Speaker, as I earlier alluded to, the Executive-legislature relationship in Cross River State is unprecedented and has become a model for democratic co-operation in the country. This productive symbiosis has facilitated the attainment of unrivalled service delivery to our constituents. We were able to meet the recurrent and capital needs of the House in 2013 through a budgetary 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).

Judiciary

As an arm of government, the importance of the judiciary cannot be over-emphasized. It is a cardinal arm that ensures effective checks and balances in the system.

I am impressed with the judiciary’s emphasis on swift and expedicious delivery of justice to every Cross Riverian.

2014 BUDGET

Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, in 2014, as we face the twilight of this administration, we are compelled by our sense of duty to make a mark on the annals of our great state to consolidate on gains made in 2013.
We are nevertheless guided by one fundamental principle that capital appropriation takes preeminence over recurrent expenditure thus maintaining our 70%:30% ratio. This is an important tenet of our fiscal prudence which will ensure that we continually prioritise developmental projects and programmes over short-term recurrent expenditure.

Mr. Speaker, this guiding principle is also important as it is one of the ways we can guarantee that all our ongoing development projects can be completed before the end of this administration in 2015. Mr. Speaker, the 2014 presentation of the appropriation bill is a testament to our commitment to ensure that all our projects and programmes are part of a holistic and coherent prospectus of crucial socio-economic development initiatives designed to enhance the economic competitiveness of the state. It is on this premise that I present to you, the 2014 budget which is christened BUDGET OF PROGRESSION.

In 2014, we shall strive harder to leverage on our revenue sources to boost agriculture and tourism and other sectors of the service economy; create a conducive platform for enhanced foreign direct investment; and, strive to complete all capital projects initiated by this government. With the ongoing reforms of the management of the Internal Revenue Service, it is expected that there will be a boost in IGR to achieve our revenue target in 2014. Government shall continue to explore the possibility of raising revenue through the identity management and e-payment back bone project, curbing of revenue leakages through pay direct system on all government transactions, commence back duty tax audit, recovery of withholding taxes from banks, aggressive tax drive on PAYE defaulting firms and reactivate tax offices across the State.

Consequently, we are proposing a budget size of N176,310,968,801.07 (One Hundred and Seventy-Six Billion, Three Hundred and Ten Million, Nine Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand, Eight Hundred and One Naira, Seven Kobo). This represents 17% increase over the 2013 appropriation bill. 70% of this shall be committed to capital expenditure requirements, while 30% would be earmarked to service recurrent obligations. We hope to achieve this projection by raising N30,911,353,745.00 (Thirty Billion, Nine Hundred and Eleven Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty-five Naira only), from internal sources N50,000,000,000.00 (Fifty Billion Naira only) from the Federation Account, and N92,624,615,056.00 (Ninety-Two Billion, Six Hundred and Twenty-four Million, Six Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Fifty-Six naira only) from capital receipts, while expecting an opening balance of N2,775,000,000.00 (Two Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Five Million Naira only).

Mr. Speaker, we are proposing the following allocation of our resources: Economic Sector N87,552,043,485.37 representing 50% of the budget; Social Services N41,541,692,867.40 representing 24%; Regional Development N16,000,653,507.27 representing 9% and General Administration N31,216,578,941.03 representing 17%.

Understandably, Mr. Speaker, the economic sector which has the highest allocation is expected to stimulate the economy, create tangible value chain and employment for our teeming youth population. The overall sectorial highlights are hereunder presented.

Agriculture

In 2014, we shall continue with our partnership with the Federal Government to boost the production of maize, rice, cocoa and cassava.

We will also explore partnership opportunities with foreign agro concerns to boost the agricultural sector, we shall pursue value addition incentives such as the establishment of cottage industries which will advance employment opportunities for our youth population. We expect to see an expansion in employment opportunities from Wilmar International’s oil palm activities for up to 5,000 people. Similarly Dangote’s investment in a pineapple plantation which will hopefully come on stream within the coming fiscal year will see up 3,000 people productively engaged.

The Cross River Agricultural and Rural Empowerment Scheme (CARES) will be further strengthened to organise and manage the out-growers and small holders’ scheme for big commercial farms in the state.

In 2014, we intend to complete the Integrated World Class Centre for Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship being developed in Abi LGA in partnership with Songhai Regional Centre in Port Novo, Benin Republic.

To accomplish these lofty goals for the agricultural sub-sector, the sum of N2,883,099,952.41 (Two Billion, Eight Hundred and Eighty-Three Million, Ninety-nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty-two Naira, Forty-one kobo only) is provided.

Forestry, Bio-diversity and Environment

Mr. Speaker, our participation in the UN REDD+ programme has placed us in the advantageous position of being able to benefit from funds allocated for its implementation. Already, our reputation as the benchmark for environmental excellence in Nigeria stands us in good stead to gain from the vast resources of international support for our conservation efforts.

We shall put in place, a community-based forest protection and conservation initiatives in 2014, to enable the affected communities indigenously protect their forest as a complementary effort to our anti-logging campaigns and legislation. We will also embark on a large-scale forest regeneration programme in the coming fiscal year.

We are, therefore, proposing the sum of N2,079,738,443.31 (Two Billion, Seventy-nine Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty-Three naira, Thirty-one kobo only) to address all issues relating to forestry, bio-diversity and environment in 2014.

Infrastructural Development (Roads and Bridges)

Mr. Speaker, in the 2014 fiscal year, we shall strive to complete and commission most on-going infrastructural projects. These include the Margaret Ekpo Airport By-pass, the Nyaghasang network of roads, the Urban renewal projects in Calabar, Ugep, Ekori, Obubra, Ikom, Ogoja and Obudu.

Others include; the Boki network of roads, the Okuni-Agbotai-Nsofang-Mkpot road; and the channel 2 underground drainage in Calabar.

We also intend to complete all Rural Development Agency’s roads and the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) roads totaling over 1000km in our state. We have, therefore, set aside the sum of N26,348,099,065.70 (Twenty-Six Billion, Three Hundred and Forty-Eight Million, Ninety-nine Thousand, Sixty-five naira, Seventy kobo only) to ensure the completion of all these infrastructural projects.

Electrification

Steady and sustainable power supply is the key for diversified economic growth and development. This is the main reason why government is annually committing huge resources into the power sector to ensure continual power supply for industrial, commercial and domestic uses.

Our commitment to ensure total electrification of our state remains uncompromised. We shall ensure all on-going electrification projects are completed in 2014, including the rehabilitation of broken-down sub-stations.

We expect to link 48 communities to the national grid, covering a total of 298.86km network connecting over one million people to a power source. Besides this, Cross River State Institute of Technology and Management, Ugep, will be connected to the national grid including the upgrade of the dedicated street lighting to 33kv line in Calabar.

The sum of N3,424,994,924.78 (Three Billion, Four Hundred and Twenty-four Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and twenty-four naira, Seventy-eight kobo only) is allocated to this sub-sector.

Lands & Housing

In 2014, we propose the sum of N1,086,473,924.79 (One Billion, Eighty-six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty-four naira, Seventy-nine kobo only) for the Ministry of Lands and Housing to enhance computerisation and documentation of survey records. It is our expectation that the Ministry shall work collaboratively with the Cross River State Geographic Information Agency (GIA) for professional management of the state land resources. Over 500 plots earmarked for allocation in the Calabar Metropolis will be disposed of at commercial rates with the revenues accrued from the sales being applied to the development of amenities and infrastructure in these ultra-modern estates.

Mortgage Finance and Estate Development

Mr. Speaker, the department of Mortgage Finance & Estate Development recorded giant strides in 2013, with the allocation of over 200 houses to civil servants on owner-occupier basis.

In line with my commitment to provide affordable housing for our citizens, we expect to complete the Akpabuyo Housing Development (Phase 2), the Odukpani, Ikom and Ogoja estates in which civil servants had already been pre-qualified with financial eligibility. To take care of all these projects, we are proposing the sum of N678,842,214.88 (Six Hundred and Seventy-eight Million, Eight Hundred and Forty-two Thousand, Two Hundred and Fourteen naira, Eighty-eight kobo only) for the development of infrastructure and provision of facilities in these estates.

Microfinance, Enterprise Development &Investment Promotion

Having put in place an aggressive and well-conceived policy and incentives framework, we expect that the state will attract more foreign direct investments, thus enhancing the growth potential of our private sector.

We also expect that the South-South CBN-EDC being hosted by Cross River will drive programmes aimed at imparting business acumen, entrepreneurial orientation and attitudinal change will boost the capacity of our prospective entrepreneurs. In addition to the CBN-EDC Project, MEDA will target intervention programmes to specifically empower at least 10,000 youth and women across the state. The agency is expected to continue all the intervention programmes in agriculture, tourism, ICT and other services started in 2013.

The Investment Promotion Bureau is currently facilitating the Mara Group’s prospective establishment of an Ethanol Plant. This transaction is expected to be signed off in 2014. ET Group is interested in fruits cultivation and processing. The Bureau is facilitating land acquisition in Bekwarra LGA for the Group. The transaction is expected to be signed off in 2014 and the new ultramodern shopping mall being developed by Artee Group is expected to be near completion.

Tourism Development

That we have become a destination for tourists within the sub-region is not in doubt. This leadership position in tourism development has come with great responsibility; that of improving facilities to cope with this rising profile and to meet visitor expectations. Accordingly, our tourism policy and regulatory framework will be overhauled not only to reflect this trend but also to create the right environment which will encourage private sector participation in our tourism industry.

Mr. Speaker, to consolidate gains made in this tourism sub-sector of our service industry, the sum of N1,137,658,500.12 (One Billion, One Hundred and Thirty Seven Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand, Five Hundred naira, Twelve only) is made available in the 2014 fiscal year.

The Summit Hills Development

The new Summit Hills development area in the heart of Calabar is designed and developed as a new lifestyle destination for not just Cross Riverians but Nigerians right across the country. It is expected to attract upper-middle class and high net-worth Nigerians desiring an investment in a safe, secure and serene neighborhood. The development is composed of the following

The Calabar International Convention Centre & Access Road

The rationale for the development of the CICC is based on a demand for 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 operational in 2015, the facility, which is designed flexibly to improve its functionality, is expected to significantly increase and sustain the number of visitors coming into the state and therefore impact positively on the economy. Currently, the civil works of the project is at 55% completion. Work is expected to move at a faster pace as the dry season commences. The sum of N7bn has been earmarked for this project.

The Convention Centre Hotel

A 200-room 4-star hotel in close proximity with the CICC is being proposed for development. However, this is designed as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Government only providing land and infrastructure while the private investor will develop and operate the hotel. Asset & Resource Management Company (ARM) Ltd have been signed on as private investors in the hotel. It is expected that the infrastructure works and other ancillary amenities in and around the CICC will serve the hotel as well.

New Calabar Golf Course

The rationale for the development of the New Calabar Golf Course project is to complement the appeal of the CICC when operational. Golf is a major attraction, especially for high net-worth individuals who are majorly the decision makers in the corporate world which constitutes the main target market. This project is presently at the earthworks stage with about 50% of that completed. The Golf Course project has a provision of N1.0bn.

The Residential/Golf Estate

A high-brow residential area is being planned proximal to the New Golf Course. This project is also designed as a PPP with Government providing land and infrastructure to the site while the private investor will develop and manage the estate. UPDC Plc (the real estate arm of UACN) is the private investor in the estate. The sum of N2.0bn has been budgeted for the infrastructure (utilities, sewage and road network) and landscaping.

Development of the Calabar Specialist Hospital

Government is involved in the Calabar Specialist Hospital primarily to develop a commercially viable health care facility through a PPP (Public Private Partnership) that will provide qualitative specialist healthcare for the citizens of the state as well as target some of the traffic from importation of healthcare services through the medical evacuation of Nigerians. The Hospital on completion will also serve as a referral centre for the primary and secondary health institutions currently operating in the State. The private partner is Utopian Healthcare Consulting who have, in addition to overseeing the design, construction, equipping and managing the hospital, committed to raising 50% of the funding required for the project, thereby limiting the State’s counterpart contribution to 50% which is partly represented by the N2.0bn budgetary provision made in the 2014 budget.

International Development Co-operation

We have had an impressive partnership with the various public sector development partners over the years based on our avid commitment to good governance, transparency, due process and fiscal responsibility. By standing firm on these grounds, Cross River State has constituted itself to be an oasis and a preferred destination for development partner support. We will, in 2014, continue our collaboration with the UNICEF, UNDP, EU, CIDA, the World Bank etc, to reap dividends which accrue to such collaborative efforts. We have accordingly provided the sum of N5,705,331,274.00 (Five billion, Seven Hundred and Five Million, Three Hundred and Thirty One Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy-Four Naira).

It is my belief that with our well entrenched reforms aimed at transparency and accountability in public sector governance, more of such support would be secured by the State in 2014.

Community & Social Development

Mr. Speaker, of specific impact as a vehicle of rural transformation is the state Community and Social Development Project (CSDP). The project which adopts the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach, is a partnership between the Cross River State Government and the World Bank. CSDP has proven to be effective and efficient mechanism to fast track development of the rural communities, where the bulk of our people reside. We intend to step up our effort in this vital unit to support our rural development effort. We have allocated the figure of One Billion, Fifteen Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Two Naira Thirty-Two kobo (N1,015,820,722,32)

The Reserve Fund

Our commitment to save for the rainy day would continue to receive prime attention in 2014. The state shall continue to save the sum of N50 million and the local government councils N18m monthly in the account which now stands at over N7.8 billion. We shall, in 2014, more closely monitor the performance of the fund managers to ensure that the fund has an efficient asset structure and consistently earns optimum returns.

Debt Management

We shall continue to honour our debt obligations to our creditors and we are proposing the sum of N18bn to service such obligations in 2014. We intend to implement the legal framework for the DMD as well as the regulatory framework for the state borrowings; develop and activate sub-national debt market. We shall continue to engage in continuous synergy and technical collaboration of best debt management practices with the Debt Management Office, Abuja and, ensure monthly servicing of our debts.

Planning, Budgeting & Due Process

Mr. Speaker, to ensure a credible planning and budgeting system we will improve our statistical base by providing necessary infrastructure and build capacity. Ministries, Departments and Agencies will continue to update their policy documents relating to their mandate. Our budgetary allocations will continue to be policy-based while we shall take necessary steps to sustain due process in the conduct of government business.

Our achievements in planning, budgeting and due process at the state level will continue to be replicated at the local government councils through the coordinating effort of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs.

SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR

Education

Inspite of challenges of funding, we shall strive towards the realisation of our set targets. We will consolidate on the gains recorded in 2013 in terms of enrolment and participation figures and we intend to make significant progress to ensure that education is qualitative, accessible and affordable to the generality of our people in 2014 and that most importantly, no child is left behind.

Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, we intend to continue with all the reforms in education which have already impacted positively on the sector. The improved performance of our children in external examinations is evidence of the success of such reforms.

In 2014, contracts will be awarded for the comprehensive renovation of secondary schools-phase II, printing of the revised secondary school textbooks as well as up-scaling of our e-learning programme by making the ICT laboratories in the 60 schools under the comprehensive renovation phase I functional.

Besides funding our tertiary institutions – the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) and the College of Education, the state shall ensure the completion of infrastructural development, furnishing and equipping in the newly established Institute of Technology and Management, Ugep which will be opened officially in January 2014. In addition, we intend to expand access to our ICT infrastructure to support rapid adoption of our e-learning initiative.

Mr. Speaker, to continue to drive the reforms in the education sub-sector, we propose to spend a total of N23,729,934,348.92 (Twenty-three Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty-nine Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty-four Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty-eight naira, Ninety-two kobo only) in the sector in 2014.

Health

We shall ensure that reasonable progress is made in the construction of the Calabar Specialist Hospital, which as mentioned before is expected to set new standards in healthcare delivery and pioneer medical tourism in Nigeria. We have, therefore, provided the sum of N9,376,692,282.23 (Nine Billion, Three Hundred and Seventy-six Million, Six Hundred and Ninety-two Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty-two naira, Twenty-three kobo only) to service both capital and recurrent needs of the Ministry. This amount will ensure we sustain the momentum gained from initiatives such as Project HOPE, the upgraded health facilities and further our partnership with the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation as they look to expand their coverage to all 18 LGAs thus improving access to basic quality healthcare for all Cross Riverians. We also intend to complete and commission the Obudu and Bekwarra hospitals as well as complete the supply of equipments at the Boki hospital.

Water Resources

In 2014, we are proposing the sum of N9,557,269,721.64 (Nine Billion, Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven Million, Two Hundred and Sixty-nine Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty-one naira, Sixty-four kobo only) for execution of projects in the water sub-sector. We expect that all on-going water rehabilitation and expansion networks shall be completed in 2014. Specifically, the water sector, driven by the Ministry of Water Resources, is expected to raise the level of access to a sustainable level from the current 60% to 80% in 2014.

Funding has been secured from the World Bank and the African Development Bank to expand and modernize our urban schemes at Ogoja, Itigidi, Ikom and Obudu. The French Development Agency has also provided funds for Okpoma and Obubra Regional Water Schemes. All the affected schemes are expected to be commissioned in 2015.

Special Projects
Mr. Speaker, it is anticipated that the two stadia in Ikom and Ogoja will be completed and put to use in the 2014 fiscal year.

Work on the Cross River university of Technology Multi-purpose hall, the Local Government Service Commission and Pensions Board Secretariat and the Indoor Sport Hall in Calabar will be completed in 2014.

The Monorail link between Calabar International Convention Centre and Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, will all achieve more than 80% level of completion in year 2014 and will be commissioned in March 2015. We have allocated the figure of Five billion, Sixty-Five million, Four Hundred and Fifty One thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Two Naira (N5,065,451,852.00)

Information

We shall continue to fund the Ministry of Information to achieve its mandate of information management for good governance of the state. Besides supporting the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation in Calabar and Ikom, the Cross River State Newspaper Corporation will be provided funds to acquire new state-of-the-art printing press, complete with colour separation equipment.

The sum of N2,171,109,428.90 (Two Billion, One Hundred and Seventy-one Million, One Hundred and Nine Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-eight naira, Ninety kobo only) is provided in the 2014 budget to drive all projects in the information sub-sector.

Youth & Social Development

Mr. Speaker, in 2014 Cross River will host the nation in the 2014 National Sports Festival tagged “Paradise Games”. As a destination synonymous with hospitality and high quality event delivery, we are poised to live up to our reputation. The 2014 edition of this event carried a certain unavoidable poignancy as it is the centenary games hosted in the first capital of our country. We therefore intend to host the best organised sports festival in Nigeria through the provision of world class infrastructure, organisation, security and event management. We intend to put up a spectacle previously unseen at any other edition of the National Sports festival. We also expect that the Ministry of Youth and Sports shall continue to harness the talents of our youths through the state’s comprehensive sports development which is already making noticeable progress.

Consequently, we have provided the sum of N6,263,956,807.35 (Six Billion, Two Hundred and Sixty-Three Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seven naira, Thirty-five kobo only) for the sector in the 2014 budget.

Women Affairs

The Ministry of Women Affairs shall be expected to continue with its mandate of supporting the growth and development of women, and children through capacity building initiatives. The ministry will also embark on the facilitation of micro credit schemes and commercial co-operative for women entrepreneurs as well as undertake a comprehensive statistical survey on gender based related matters through which a database will be developed, all in an effort to foster the completion of gender policy and mainstreaming. To this end, we have allocated Four Hundred and Seventy-Three Million, Six Hundred and Seventy-Eight Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty One Naira only (N473,678,281,00)

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

Mr. Speaker, the effectiveness of any bureaucracy is not measured by the number in its role, but by its efficiency.
We shall, therefore, maximise benefits that accrue to training and provide the workforce with facilities that guarantee performance excellence. In 2014, our target is to up-grade the curriculum of the Management Development Institute (MDI) and sustain the public service monitoring and evaluation system using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) templates to establish performance management architecture in the state service. We shall also work to strengthen our rewards system for best performance public servants.

ICT Development

In 2014, we would consolidate on our rapidly emerging position as the crucible of ICT development in the region by ensuring the completion and execution of all outstanding ICT projects. In addition to completing the Calabar Metropolitan Fibre Project and activate participation at the Tinapa Knowledge City, our target will be to attract additional external investments and private sector firms to further develop our indigenous capacity thus adding value to the existing project through job creation. We will also seek to expand the application of our e-payment and integrated citizen identity platforms to cover more Cross Riverians and provide a wider range of technologically advanced solutions to our people. We intend to fully harness the benefits of our investments in this regard. We have allocated the sum of Seven Hundred million, Twenty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Two Naira and Thirty Eight Kobo (N700,028,962.38)

Security

Although we have enjoyed relative peace and serenity in Cross River, we do not intend to rest on our laurel. We will be unrelenting in our pursuit to firmly establish and maintain our prime position as the safest state in the country. We will also be uncompromising in our response to any challenge to this position. This administration has always taken a zero tolerance approach to crime and criminal elements and we are ready to re-double our efforts in this respect. Cross Riverians are a people of peace and it is this characteristic that is one of our greatest assets. We will, in 2014, invest in the machinery, technology and manpower necessary to jealously guard this enviable position.
We shall continue to improve upon our intelligence gathering and collaboration with security agencies and their operatives in 2014. In the light of the positive impact of the ERC-Quick Intervention Squad on our law enforcement operations, the QIS would be replicated in other parts of the State to bolster our crime prevention efforts right across the state to deter criminal elements from penetrating our borders. We also intend to work constructively with communities towards the settlement of any outstanding communal disputes through the creation of buffer zones to avoid locations of friction.

The Legislature

The import of the legislature as an arm of government is gradually being appreciated by our citizenry.
The peaceful co-existence and mutual respect which had characterised the relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government in our dear state shall be sustained in 2014. We have proposed to strengthen this vital arm of government with the sum of N1,919,093,235.43 in the 2014 fiscal year.

Judiciary

Equally important is the judiciary; an arm of government which plays vital role in ensuring the needed checks and balances in the system.

In 2014, we shall ensure that modern facilities are provided to transform court procedures. Accordingly, the sum of N1,947,219,937.79 has been provided. With this provision, we intend to establish a multi-purpose court complex to house the Chief Judges’ chamber, four court judge’s chambers and court halls. The facility will also have a conference hall, recreational facilities and a modern business centre.

We also intend to establish a customary Court of Appeal to handle appeals from the 94 Customary Courts in the state.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, ours has been a journey where our shared collective interests, dedication and commitment have been the guiding principles for our path towards the greater socio-economic growth and development of our state which we all desire to achieve.

We remain steadfast in the pursuit of our vision to re-define Cross River State and transform it into the premier service-driven economy in our country. We have worked tirelessly and assiduously to implement the meticulously conceived plan for the growth and development of Cross River and we are undeterred in our ambitions. We have made sacrifices along the way and must be willing to do even more to realise our vision in the appreciation that our collective success is what binds us together.

Mr Speaker, Honourable Members of the House, we have achieved these positive results solely because of our impressively collaborative spirit. We are all, individually and collectively, custodians of the great destiny of our state and must not yield in the execution of our duties to the good people of Cross River State. We must, as public officials, uphold the terms of our social contract with the people we serve. This is why, even as we take the long view towards the transition of 2015, I am certain that, together, we will prevail and succeed. This view is exemplified by this budget of progression.

I am immensely appreciative of the support and understanding of this house and its members. I thank you for your kind attention and the usual assurances of expeditious consideration of this 2014 appropriation bill.
Thank you and God bless.

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