By Sylvia Akpan, Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Sen. Bassey Otu has signed the ‘Peoples First’ Budget of N296 billion into law.
The budget was signed today at Dan Archibong Lodge topping N104, 986, 870, 898,59 billion in the economic sector.
Recall that on October 26, 2023, Otu presented the estimate to the State House of Assembly saying “We have prioritized a higher capital expenditure over recurrent expenditure in our public expenditure structure.
“As a deliberate principle, we have maintained a higher capital–recurrent expenditure of 61.6% to 38.4%.
“This not only emphasizes 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.
Though the Governor had proposed a budget size of N250 billion with N154 billion as capital expenditure and N96 billion for recurrent expenditure, the Assembly jerked it up by N46 billion to N296 billion.
The new budget has a capital expenditure of N180 billion and a recurrent expenditure of N116 billion.
Speaking at the event, Otu disclosed that the increment is to provide adequate financial support to people living with disabilities which he requested and after laying the budget proposal before the State House of Assembly.
“The increase in the budget allocation for this community is not just a necessity but a moral imperative: to erase the social imbalance of these special demographics as they are a vulnerable group. They require specialized care, adaptive equipment, and access to resources that accommodate their unique needs.
“This increase will facilitate better access to healthcare, assistive technologies, education, and employment opportunities tailored to their capabilities. Therefore, it is not just a fiscal decision but a statement of our values as a society which is espoused by my administration.
“Towards this end, I have directed that efforts be made to ensure the earlier submission of the 2024-2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper. To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2024 Budget, we will further intensify our revenue mobilization efforts.
He affirmed that he is optimistic about the ability to finance the budget with creative funding options as he hopes to surpass revenue targets, and disclosed that revenue-generating agencies, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and MDAs must ensure prompt and full remittances of collected revenues.
Highlights of the budget include; the economic sector – N104, 986, 870, 898.59 billion; general administration – N95, 815, 641, 732.54 billion; law and justice – N7, 947, 139, 687.33 billion; regional sector – N1, 262, 390, 126.52 billion, and social sector – N86, 973, 489, 533.02 billion.