The 2018 budget in Cross River is a deceit budget. This has a classical advantage! It enables robust planning as opposed to cash based budgeting. That is why Governor Ayade says, “when the spirit aims high, the body will move to actualize the dream.’’
Sometimes it is difficult to predict the policy drive and governance style of the present administration in Cross River State. This is even more complex as the Governor; Prof. Ben Ayade is shooting from an angle that is very much at variance with the erstwhile state administration’s pattern. To that extent, a floodgate of diverse opinions and criticisms has splashed on the various policy initiatives of the Ayade-led government.
First was the issue of increasing the ministerial portfolio from 18 ministries to a staggering 28 in the face of dwindling financial resources of the state. The next was the appointment of more than 2,000 politicians into various positions, then followed the administration’s “signature projects” the 141-kilometer Bakassi-Obudu Super Highway and the Bakassi deep sea port. The industrialization of the state with a view to changing the socio-economic face of the state from a predominantly civil service status to an industrialized one, and not forgetting the N1.3 trillion budget of “Kinetic Crystallization” also loom large as potential legacies of the Ayade-led administration. A scrutiny of the various policy initiatives clearly shows the directions they are headed – whether they are succeeding or failing. First, expanding the ministerial portfolio has created a robust administrative capacity that has enabled government to delve into areas that otherwise would have been neglected.
Recently, Cross River State Government through the instrumentality of the ministries of Petroleum and Gas, has discovered large gas deposits in the state and had written to the Federal government for a right to mine the resources. The same goes to the Ministry of Infrastructure as well as Bureau for Public Private Partnership (BPPP) that have successfully midwifed four good and promising companies to change the fortunes of the state. These companies include, the Garment Factory, Rice Seedling Company – one of the best in Africa, The CalaPharm Pharmaceutical Company and the Independent power station.
The 6,000 hectares of banana plantation in Odukpani as well as the cocoa processing factory in Ikom cannot be over looked. It is on record that the economy of Nigeria today is passing through a phase that makes life uncomfortable. With the poor exchange rate of our currency and high cost of prices of goods and services, it is obvious that survival is a thorny issue in the country. However, this situation is not the same in Cross River State. For instance, while in some states, the civil servants are left to determine their fate with a backlog of arrears of salaries owed them, the same cannot be said of Cross River State where issues of salaries are given priority attention. the fortunes of over 2,000 political appointees have been changed from depending on ‘handouts’ from ‘big’ politicians for survival to being key participants in the administrative process of the state with a reward of monthly stipends. The state’s citizens could begin to imagine what will happen when all companies mentioned start to fire all cylinders of their economic production. First, the unemployment problem in the state will reduce; secondly, the socioeconomic face of the state will change to a promising one.
The 2018 budget of N1.3 trillion is another area in which the economic intelligence of the present administration has come to play. One wonders how a state with known poor revenue base can operate such a gargantuan budget size! The truth is that the 2018 budget in Cross River is a deficit budget. This has a classical advantage! It enables robust planning as opposed to cash-based budgeting. That is why Governor Ayade says, “When the spirit aims high, the body will move to actualize the dream.’’ The spirit of the present administration is aiming high; therefore, the body, which includes the Policy Implementation Department, must rise to actualize the dream of the present government.