Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River State has presented a budget estimate of N1,100, 167, 507.09 trillion to the state House of Assembly for 2020 fiscal year.
Christened ‘budget of Olimpotic meristemasis,’ the 2020 budget estimates is slightly higher than that of last year which was N1,043, and which the Governor referred to as ‘Budget of Quabalistic Densification.’
Unlike last year in which the Governor did not explain how much was allocated to capital expenditures and recurrent expenditure, Ayade explained that in 2020, N911 billion, representing 82 percent of the estimates would be for capital estimates while N188 billion, representing 17.2 percent would go for recurrent expenditure.
The Governor seemed to have prioritize the health sector above all others as he estimated N44 billion for the sector, seconded by the education sector was, he said, would gulp N38 billion. N22 billion was budgeted for agriculture while N85 billion would go to the New Cities Project.
Speaking on his administration’s policy on taxation, the governor said no nation taxes it’s people to prosperity and that he was abolishing daily taxes henceforth, reiterating that low income earners, including traders and civil servants who earn below N100,000 per month, would be exempted from taxes.
Ayade explained that a flat monthly tax would be paid by low income earners and that government would continue to legalise hawking and would go further to create hawking bases in the state to assist low income earners.
According to him, the tax regime in the state beginning, from next year, would become softer as a means of boosting the income of low earners, adding that high income earners would be the ones paying more tax.
He disclosed that a number of agro-based industries, under construction in the state, would come on stream next year, believing that if the projection comes to fruition, government would earn about 380 billion naira from their activities.
Ayade added that the budget was unachievable as his administration was determined to ensure it is actualized, but solicited for cooperation from the House and members of the public to move Cross River to another level.
In his response, Eteng Williams, Speaker of the State Assembly promised to give the necessary support, saying the budget will be approved before the end of the year.
Explaining the logic behind the ‘Olimpotic meristemasis,’ budget, the immediate past Speaker of the Assembly, Rt Hon John Gaul Lebo, said the word ‘Olimpotic Budget,’ means “Budget required to provide new initiative or momentum for expansion and differentiation in economic development and having the capacity to initiate and provide the basic structure for economic Growth,” adding “the budget will give rise to responsible growth across the various economic Cell structure.”
According to Lebo, ‘meristem’ “is the tissue in most plants containing undifferentiated cells (meristematic cells), found in zones of the plant where growth can take place. Meristematic cells give rise to various organs of a plant and are responsible for growth.”