Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has presented an appropriation bill of one trillion, one hundred billion, one hundred and sixty seven million, five hundred and seven thousand naira, nine kobo, for the 2020 fiscal year.
Presenting the budget tagged “Budget of Olimpotic Meristemasis” on Thursday, the budget has at its capital expenditure N911 billion representing 82.8 percent of the budget and a recurrent expenditure of N188 billion, representing 17.2 percent of the budget.
Ayade described the budget as one that is anchored on a belief “in the spiritual force which is the third energy.”
While explaining that meristemasis is the active cell that stimulates growth in a young plant, which in this case represents the state, he pointed out that, the budget will catalyze into existence a great opportunity for us all to put our hands and legs on the pedal and fill it off.”
He said the decision to allocate 82.8 percent of the budget to capital expenditure, was indicative of our aggressive commitment that will continue to reduce recurrent expenditure and focus on capital expenditure.
On the sectoral breakdown as captured by the appropriation bill, Ayade disclosed that the health sector will gulp N44 billion, education N38 billion, new city development N35 billion while agriculture will get N22 billion and social housing to gulp N12 billion, among others.
The governor announced plans to set up anti-tax agents to ensure that the tax policy of his administration is sustained as he will not like to tax the needy to prosperity.
“All low income earning people, civil servants earning below N100 thousand will be exempted from tax,” Ayade said, adding that, “small scale businesses like barbing saloons, hair dressing and other surviving agencies are hereby exempted from taxation.”
He also abolished the daily payments of N500 to N1000 levies by taxis plying the state, noting that they will now pay N2,000 only every month.
On the size of the budget, the governor said: “We must come to the understanding that indeed any state whose budget is driven by the envelope size is limited in vision.
“There are two ways in business and public sector management that you derive your budget. It is either that your budget comes as an expression of your envelope size or as an expression of your ambition.
“The prosperity agenda set for this state does not allow me the opportunity of an envelope budgeting. Our budget prescribes the actual cost element while the intellectual financing shuns the cost because the ambition so expressed allows us the latitude to drive with to ensure that we guarantee that all aspects of the budget so provided are driven.”