2022: Cross River Assembly passes N354.5bn budget

The Cross River state House of Assembly has passed the budget estimates for 2022, increasing it from N276,279,960,667.35 proposed by Gov Ben Ayade in October, to N354,505,535,313.25. The budget was passed after it went through the third reading.

Explaining reasons for the increase, the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Eteng William, said it was “to either correct shortfalls, take in new items or reconsider inflows and expenditures patterns contained therein.

“For instance, soon after the Governor presented the budget, TETFUND, agreed to support the Cross River State government with funds amounting to N40billion to be directed at the following projects: Tertiary Cancer Research Centre, Tertiary Orthopedic Centre, University Library for British Canadian School, and Tertiary Tourism Centre.”

He said the approval for procurement of critical hospital equipment like Pet Scan Linear Accelerator and Cyclotron were received after the budget had been presented by the Governor, and that the items would be bought at the current exchange rate which brought in an additional N4.5 billion.

“Finally, it was discovered that the initial provision of N14 billion was not enough for debt servicing and debt refinancing. Additional N20 billion has therefore been used to augment this provision.

“We also discovered that there was no provision for the University of Cross River State, there was no provision for training of members of the State House of Assembly, there was no provision for the office of the State Auditor-General.

“There was no provision for the newly built Teachers Training institution in Biase. Some ministries did not even have personnel cost, amongst other omissions. We looked at every ministry and sector, line by line,” he stated.

Earlier, the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance & Appropriation, Sunday Achunekang, further explained that in the appropriation bill so passed, Personnel and Overhead cost stood at N118, 956, 354,107.96; Capital expenditure at N225, 746, 261,604.98 while Statutory Expenditure was pegged at N9,802,919,600.31, totaling N354,505,535,313.25 for 2022.

“In view of the fact that the Governor’s presentation represented the first reading of the Bill. It was scheduled and read the second time on Thursday 25th November 2021 and after a robust deliberation by members, the Bill was referred to the Committee on Finance & Appropriation for detailed scrutiny and to report back within three weeks. That is what has just happened,” Hon Achunekang stated.

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