By Jonathan Ugbal
Cross River Governor, Senator Bassey Otu has presented before the 10th Cross River House of Assembly the 2024 appropriation bill with plans to spend NGN250 billion.
Tagged; “The People’s First Budget,” the figure is a slight reduction from the revised 2023 budget of NGN250,781,015,661 which he assented to in July. That figure was a downward review from the previous budget size of N330 billion, assented to by his predecessor.
The Governor in his speech said, “As a deliberate principle, we have maintained a higher capital–recurrent expenditure of 61.6% to 38.4%. This does not only emphasize the importance of structural development but also a demonstration of the State’s commitment to the provision of the much-needed infrastructural facilities in our rural and urban centers.”
“For the 2024 fiscal year, we have proposed a total budget size of NGN250,000,000,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Billion Naira). Capital expenditure will gulp NGN154,000,000,000 (One Hundred and Fifty-four Billion Naira) only; while the sum of NGN96,000,000,000 (Ninety-six Billion Naira) only is proposed for Recurrent expenditure,” the Governor said.
Below are some takeaways from his speech;
- The State Internal Revenue Service has increased the state’s internally generated revenue profile by 21% by bringing every taxable adult into the tax net.
- The State Ministry of Lands is expected to improve its revenue through the automated Geographical Information System (GIS).
- The State Ministry of International Donor Coordination is expected to attract grants, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), fund transfers from the diaspora, and other incentives to catalyze development in the State.
- Agriculture: The State Government will pursue mechanized agriculture to ensure food sufficiency and zero hunger. It will also assist farmers with improved seedlings, hybrid livestock, soft loans, and other incentives.
- Education: The State Government will continue the tuition-free education program for primary and Post Primary Students. It will also pay for the WAEC fee for all SS3 Students. Accreditation and re-accreditation of the State Tertiary Institutions, building, and renovation of schools, training and re-training of manpower in Educational Sector will be given priority attention.
- Health: The State Government will upgrade and equip all primary health centers to meet the health needs of the people. It will also collaborate with international donor agencies in the provision of rural health care. There is also provision for the upgrade of facilities in the State General Hospitals and Schools of Nursing in the State.
- Environment: The State Government will ensure sustainable exploitation of natural resources and protection of biodiversity. It will also embark on a massive afforestation program, erosion control projects, waste management, and sanitation programs. The State Government will protect the forest canopy and biodiversity from illegal exploitation and degradation. It will also renovate and establish new green areas, enforce environmental sanitation exercises, and embark on erosion control projects, waste management, and sanitation programs.
- Infrastructure: The State Government will allocate a whopping sum of One Hundred and Fifty-Four Billion Naira (N154,000,000,000) for capital expenditure to provide infrastructural facilities such as roads, bridges, electricity, public transportation, and potable water. This is a clear departure from the norm where recurrent expenditure exceeds capital expenditure.
- Youth and Sports Development: The State Government will empower the youths through education and training programs. It will also develop talents in football, field, and track events, and reward athletes who excel in national and international competitions. The State Sports Council will organize sports competitions in schools to discover raw talent.
- Security: The State Government will procure 21st-century security gadgets, equipment, motor vehicles, and other materials to combat crime in the state. It will also give a marching order to criminals to exit the state or risk arrest and prosecution. It will offer amnesty to those who are ready to turn a new leaf and surrender their weapons.
More details later…