Cross River: Gov. Ayade signs 2021 ‘heavyweight’ budget into law

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Ayade, however, expressed the hope that with the several industries he has so far established and commencing fully in 2021, the stateโ€™s economy would receive a giant boost.

Cross River State Governor, Benedict Ayade, has signed 2021 budget of โ€˜Blush and Blissโ€™ into law following passage of the of N282b appropriation bill that was reduced from N1.01tr by the House of Assembly on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

Speaking shortly after signing the budget yesterday at the Governorโ€™s Office in Calabar, Ayade disclosed that the budget made provisions for the establishment of a state polytechnic.

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โ€œIt also has provisions for social welfare schemes like grants and other financial benefits to help cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Cross River people,โ€ he said.

Ayade explained that the size of the budget was smaller when compared to previous budgets of over N1tr and that his administration decided to reduce the financial commitment in key projects like the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the 275km superhighway to five per cent.

According to him, the state government will build the Seaport on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, adding: โ€œFor the 2021 budget of โ€œBlush and Bliss,โ€ the gross component is in its reduction from N1.01tr to N282b. My worry is what will then happen to the gap.

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โ€œWe had explained this during the budget presentation that we are shifting from all the big dreams to the basic, primordial things of survival and ensuring that there is food on our tables.โ€

Ayade stated that his government had planned that by 2021, it would move away from food on the table to food on the plough, but that with the COVID-19 pandemic and #EndSARS protests, government realised that it had to further sustain its food on the table agenda.

He maintained that the 2021 budget was streamlined to meet the intended focus, hence it provided a 5 per cent cost for capital projects like the 275km Superhighway, the Bakassi Deep Sea port and Calas Vegas Island, among others.

He said the stateโ€™s privatisation council in partnership with KPMG, as consultants would select the best investors for the capital projects.

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He commended the state House of Assembly in ensuring that the 2021 budget was ready for signing.

Speaker of the House, Eteng Williams, explained that the House did some adjustments to the appropriation bill Governor Ayade submitted in October to accommodate current realities that were captured in the bill, such as establishment of the Cross River state Polytechnic, which the governor recently signed into law.

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