By CrossRiverWatch Admin
The perpetual dependence of states in Nigeria on federally allocated revenue has become the bane of development in the nation.
Month after month, the 36 states’ Commissioners of Finance line up in Abuja to receive stipends that are barely enough to achieve the developmental dreams of the various states.
This has created a national economy where many of the states can best be described as dependent, un-creative or even outright lazy when it comes to maximizing their economic potentials.
There is no gainsaying that there are huge potentials and opportunities in many of the states in Nigeria. The inability to harness these potentials thus can be laid at the feet of their leadership.
It is in the light of this that the pioneering governor of Cross River State, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade has set the pace with an innovative budgetary and fiscal strategy that will be a break away from this norm to decouple the state from federal allocations.
It is no longer news that on Friday, 13 January 2017, the governor of the State signed the 707 billion Naira Appropriation Bill into Law for 2017 Fiscal year.
This covers the Capital and Recurrent Expenditure for implementation in 2017 Fiscal year and the total capital outlay for the infrastructural and industrial development proposed in the state.
This will include the the signature projects and industrialization projects with the ultimate target of approaching completion of the super highway and deep seaport by 2019 to 2021.
The event which was witnessed by members of the state executive and members of the state legislature was applauded by stakeholders and enthusiasts.
The budget christened “Budget of Infinite Transposition” aims principally to harness the potentials that abound in the state to fast track development and industrialization and decouple it from dependence on federally allocated revenue.
This is in a vision to set the state as primus interpares among the committee of states in Nigeria and drive regional growth that will propel the nation out of prevailing recession.
Indeed, Cross River State has a divine role to play at a time like this that the nation is in dire need of revolutionary economic strategy to take us out of economic doldrums.
Determined and convinced about the direction of his administration, governor Ayade has been quoted as saying that the budget of infinite transposition is one which “believes in the infinity of dreams, capacity and intellect.”
Methinks it is ingenious and innovating to pioneer a deficit budgeting and financing model applied in micro economic modulation of a government at times of war or economic emergency.
The budget which is driven by aspiration and economic indices based on our medium term expenditure frame work, conceived to be the vehicle to drive the laudable projects lined out for the industrialization of the state.
Some of these projects, many of which are at different stages of realization, include the investment in Garment factory, Pharmaceutical factory, the Bakassi deep seaport and the Bakassi- Katsina Ala superhighway.
In the Agriculture sector, the budgetary strategy is expected to support the partnership in building a food processing factory and rice mill and seedling production plant (Rice city).
Others include Cocoa cultivation and processing, the poultry value chain, rubber production and processing, massive investment in banana production and export etc.
Beyond the Agriculture sector, the state has structured investments in mineral exploration and exploitation with very exciting opportunities in the petroleum sector; both upstream and downstream.
Though the oil bench mark review projects a higher revenue forecast from federal allocation, the innovative financial engineering for the budget focuses on income base expansion with allowance made to warehouse third party investor funds via the creation of an absorption portfolio in the medium term expenditure framework.
Additional funding opportunities for the budget will include but not limited to: First, investments such as that in airline and merchant vessels for maritime trade are expected to up the states fortunes from the last quarter of this year.
Second, the investment in petrocross oil and gas, with the downstream fully ready in first quarter, will bring a quantum leap in revenue projection.
Third, the 21 megawatts of electricity which will also be ready for injection in the first quarter is expected to up the state’s inflows in income.
Further, the state intends to seek other innovative ways to grow its internally generated revenue including more effective tax collection and administration systems.
With all of these and more, we are confident that Cross River State will become a model state in Nigeria being economically independent and providing quality life and environment for its citizens and residents according to its vision under the able leadership of Senator Professor Ben Ayade.
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