Governor Ayade proposes N301b budget for 2017

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State on Monday in Calabar presented an Appropriation Bill of N301billion for 2017 to the House of Assembly.

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Presenting the budget, Ayade said it was intended to project economic activities in the state, and would focus largely on the construction of the 260km super highway and the deep sea port.

According to him, a total of N226.48 billion, representing 75.2 per cent of the budget, is for capital expenditure, while personnel cost and overhead stands at N56.78 billion and N17.93 billion, respectively.

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The governor said that statutory allocation during the period was projected at N41.67 billion, while N76.70 billion was expected as donation and grants from international support agencies.

Ayade said: “From the economic recovery programme of the Federal Government, we are projecting that Cross River would benefit to the tune of N38.47 billion.

“The projected investors fund is put at N63.83 billion. This gives us a gross budget estimate of 2017 to be N301billion.

“The 2017 budget will improve the economic status of the state and also improve on the welfare of all Cross Riverians.

“We are aware of the present economic challenges in the country, but we must explore other means of generating revenue rather than depend solely on federal allocation.’’

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The 2017 budget of the state is slightly higher than the N259 billion approved for 2016.

For 2016, the legislature approved N303 billion for the state but it was later slashed at the governor’s instant “due to current economic recession”.

Receiving the Bill, the Speaker of the assembly, John Gaul-Lebo, commended the governor for initiating the 260-kilometre super highway project, whose construction was recently flagged-off by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Gaul-Lebo said that the road when completed would attract more investors to the state, thus improving its revenue profile.

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He assured the governor of the assembly’s continued support for the economic and political growth of the state.

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