By Patrick Obia
The Director, Policy Alert and Moderator, Niger Delta Open Government Observatory, Mr. Tijah Bolton-Akpan has questioned the 2019/2020 budget of Cross River State, stating that “there is something fundamentally wrong with the budget.”
Mr. Tijah who made the assertion while speaking on ‘The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo’ on Hit 95.9 FM Calabar, questioned the budget christened “Budget of Qabalistic Densification” adding that Cross Riverians were not involved in the process.
In his words: “I did not go to the dictionary until I got to this studio and while sitting, I had to do a quick dive into the dictionary to see what qabalistic actually mean. I first heard the title of the budget; it was very annoying to me as someone who stands on the side of open government.
“Why would you title a budget such jaw breaking title. A budget that is actually a document for the citizens. So, I felt that from the conceptual and philosophical underpinning of the budget there is something fundamentally wrong with the budget. The budget comes from a very wrong philosophy. It is a philosophy that is designed to obstruct, to confuse and to put citizens in a dark corner somewhere where they cannot understand what is happening in those plans.” He argued.
He said the budget should be made open, simple and not secretive to the citizens. “I just saw that qabalistic means something that has secret pinning. Why would you bring in secrecy into the budget?
“You are making something dense instead of simplifying. The budget is the people’s document. Next to the constitution is the budget which is the most important document for governance. If you’re going to densify the budget, that means you’re going to make it more difficult for ordinary citizens to understand; you’re going to make it more secretive,” he added.
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade had on Wednesday, February 6th presented before the State House of Assembly a budget of One Trillion, Forty-Three Billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Million Naira (N1, 043,967,000,000) budget for the 2019/2020 financial year.
The budget which Ayade termed as “magical budget” is expected to be used to complete the industrialization projects ongoing in the State.
However, the budget has been greeted with mixed reactions from Cross Riverians across board.
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