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C'River 2024 Budget Truly For 'People First' - SA Budget

The Special Adviser to Governor Bassey Otu on Budget, Comrade Otu Otu-Ita, has stated that the approved 2024 budget of Cross River State, as its name implies, is intended to have direct bearings on the yearnings and aspirations of the masses.

Comrade Otu-Ita gave the assurance, Wednesday, during the Approved Cross River State 2024 Breakdown and Highlights Meeting with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Civil Society Organisations organised by the Budget Office, held in Calabar, the State capital.

The Special Adviser pointed out that the all-encompassing budget also gave priority attention to people living with disabilities in the State, noting that, “everyone in Cross River State will be treated evenly and no section of the State will be treated preferentially."

According to him, emphasis would also be made to ensure that every community in the State has a healthcare centre and that the schools have seats and tables.

“I am delighted to welcome you to this occasion, as we gather to witness the public presentation of the breakdown and highlights of the Cross River State Government 2024 Approved Budget.

“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, today marks a significant step forward as we unveil the details of our financial plan for this year, 2024 Financial Year.

The approved budget reflects the commitment of the government to address the diverse needs of our citizens and propel the state towards sustainable development,” Comrade Otu-Ita stated.

He said the budget of the State Government was increased to N296 billion from the N250 billion submitted in order for government to cater for the needs of people living with disabilities, as well as attend to nutritional issues.

Speaking further, the Budget SA stated that in line with the State Government's priority for infrastructural development, the sum of N280 billion was provided for Capital Expenditure, while N116 billion is for Recurrent Expenditure in the 2024 fiscal year.

A further breakdown by the Special Adviser further revealed that Education has N47 billion, Health; N23.9 billion, Local Government Elections; N1.3 billion, Infrastructure; N16.5 billion and gratuity received N28 billion, explaining that ten percent of the total budget would be used for debt servicing.

The Special Adviser said Government Share of N74.05 billion, Independent Revenue of N34.70 billion, Aids and Grants of 44.16 billion and Receipts of N142.23 billion will be major sources of budget financing.

Appreciating the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in the budget process, Otu-Ita said: “Your collective efforts have contributed to a comprehensive and inclusive budget that aligns with our vision for a prosperous and harmonious Cross River State. Let us use this occasion to gain insights into the roadmap for the fiscal year ahead and to engage in constructive dialogue that will further refine our approach to governance.

"May this presentation strengthen the bond between the government and the people, fostering a collaborative spirit that propels Cross River State to greater heights."

Articulating his views, a one-time Commissioner for Finance in the State, Mr. Kelly Ayamba lauded the budget office for upholding all budgeting procedures in line with international best practice, describing the 2024 budget of the State as "realistic."

Other participants, in their separate remarks, thanked the Budget Special Adviser for the decision to engage the stakeholders on the 2024 approved budget of the State, which they maintained would encourage effective monitoring and implementation of the budget.

By Ebi Collins, The Beagle News