Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, yesterday, broke down in tears after signing his N1.3 trillion budget of “kinetic crystallization” into law. He also appealed to religious leaders to pray for the realization of the budget.
Sobbing, the governor specifically called on a clergyman in the audience to hold the signed copy of the budget in his hand and lead everyone present to God in prayers and supplicate for God’s divine intervention to make the budget realizable.
Ayade said: “This is the first trillion budget in the annals of Nigerian history, and therefore, it is unique, and ambitious intended to decouple the state from the dependence on federation account.
“The philosophy behind the budget is the spirit of ‘we can do it’ and creates a new vista, thinking and horizon that would take us out of the woods. It is high time we put to an end, the civil service status mentality we have found ourselves by thinking outside the box.”
He added: “This is epochal in the history of the state and the nation as it is the first to pass the N1 trillion mark in the nation among states.
“Part of the philosophy of this budget will focus on human capital development and we said we will put food on the table; which was still what we focused on in our year one and year two. But on this third year, we are amending the agenda to be food on the table, hand on the plough.”
The governor commended the state House Assembly for what he called “the deep understanding of the budget proposal and the intricacies that led to the passage,” adding that they have been a great stabilizing factor in this dispensation.
Presenting the budget earlier, the Speaker, Hon. John Gaul-Lebo, said the House interfaced with various ministries, departments and agencies before the passage of the budget.
“We had extensive engagements with all the MDAs to arrive at N1.3 trillion. The budget is designed in terms of international benchmark of deficit and envelop budget.
“We shall, in line with Section 122 of the Constitution, carry out rigorous oversight functions to ensure that the budget is implemented to deepen the dividends of democracy,” he stated.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong, said the passage and signing of the budget showed that there was a cordial relationship between the executive and Legislative arms of government, which was geared towards the people’s emancipation.
“This budget is intended to crystallize and implement the visions that have been so far done by the administration. We are entering the fourth year of this term. So, this is the time to deliver on the mandate and the promise we made to the people.
“There is going to be a trickle-down effect as we start implementing the budget and Cross Riverians are going to benefit from the multiplier effect if they position themselves well.”
According to him, government would do everything possible to achieve the greater percentage of implementing the budget, even though it is practically impossible to hit 100 per cent implementation.