CROSS RIVER INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

Read more

KT OFFSHORES LIMITED

Read more

THE ABANDONED, REHABILITATED AND PROGRESSING BILLION NAIRA FEDERAL ROADS

In local parlance, the term, money miss road describes the misfortune of putting money in wrong hands or in the hand of a foolish person. Year in, year out so much money is reportedly churned out of the nation’s coffers purportedly to construct new roads and repair or rehabilitate dilapidated ones. Yet, in thecourse of time, much of the
capital votes fly past the construction or rehabilitation sites into the pockets of super consultants and fake contractors while the genuine engineering firms, mostly the multinationals, reputed for delivering durable roads
and bridges on schedule once they are duly mobilized, are left to experiment with what one Chinese expert describes as, “small money, small job”. That is to say, if government failed to release enough funds for construction work,
nobody should expect elaborate jobs to be delivered o n schedule.

Only last week, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Raji Babatunde Fashola announced at the National Council on Works and Housing meeting held in Calabar that the construction of a network of Trunk A roads across the
nation was progressing rapidly. Fashola who was represented by his Minister of State in the Ministry, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu assured that the more than … kilometers of roads which comes to two road projects per state and the
FCT will add to the nation’s infrastructural assets in the next couple of months. About a month ago, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the release of 􀀀605 billion for construction and rehabilitation of a network of Trunk A roads nationwide. Beyond what ought to be cheery news to commuters, stakeholders in the road transport
sector and the generality of Nigerians, all too often such announcements turn out to be a rehash of tales to justify shoddy jobs executed and a nightmare of macadamized roads ridden with gorging potholes (boreholes wrongly located?) and only about the dual carriageways within the FCT and the Abuja- Kaduna-Kano Highway.

The story of road and bridges sub-sectors and indeed other infrastructure deficit remains a mirage as officials who were quick at laying blames on previous regimes and promised better deals upon assuming office, are not only under-achieving but also chewing their own words as they relish in excuse-mania. The good excuse of difficult terrain, soaring cost of bitumen and charges per metre of roads and construction materials are used to justify the
situation in the Niger Delta region especially the northernmost axis of Cross River and Akwa Ibom where the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene-Aba and Calabar- Ikom-Ogoja-Katsina Ala roads have suffered most. The controversy
surrounding the supposed dualisation of the former and the latter speaks loudly of the contempt some Federal
officials and road operatives hold on a section of the country even as they are subjected to pain and deceit. How have our subjects respond to the Daily Sun Newspaper report of Monday, October 28, 2019 titled, “Reps Committee flays discrepancy on Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road contract”? It captures the amazement and anguish of the Federal
House Ad hoc Committee on Abandoned Federal Roads which expressed disappointment in the haphazard manner the dual carriage construction of Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road contract was awarded by the FG. Contract for the
dual carriageway was awarded in April 24, 2018 by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing which ought to be completed within 30 months. But the House Committee headed by Mr. Francis Udoyok was surprised to know that
sections of the road totaling 29.3 km had not been awarded for construction. Udoyok told journalists after inspecting the Akwa Ibom State stretch of the road from Ididep in Ibiono Ibom to Ayadehe in Itu LGAs respectively that the
exclusion of key sections was disappointing.

“We have come to confirm that the so called award for the Ikot Ekpene-Calabar- Itu road is not in complete truth; a section of it has not been awarded. You can see that from where we stand, which is the end of the beginning of section one, so to speak, is Ayadehe in Itu LG council to where you have the power plant in Odukpani LGC is not
awarded. “Then after the power plant is another (portion) to Odukpani junction. Even the beginning of the project
from Ikot Ekpene to Ididep is not awarded. So, we have a bad spot that is not awarded; over 27 km, then you come in between and award about 21km, then you leave 29.3km and award another 9.3km. So you can see the level of inconsistency.” Meanwhile, upon the reported flag off at Biase in 2018 of the 73-kilometre Odukpani Junction-Ikot
Okopra-Akpet 1 section of the Calabar-Ogoja Federal Highway Rehabilitation by the then Minister of Power, Works and Housing (now without the “Power” portfolio), Mr. Babatunde Fashola, there are many questions to answer.
Of the N14,017,170,597.90 cost attached to the project, how much would the super minister and his erstwhile
Minister of State in the Ministry, Alhaji Mustapha Baba-Shehuri (redeployed in the second term to Agriculture and Rural Development) who represented him, say went into the job? Consider that what is there appears to replicate the “Slow, Men at Work” performance of the PWD (Public Works Department) of the olden days or less than what our
own Road Maintenance Agency (RMA) in CRS is capable of implementing?

Does this demonstrate the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to bridge the infrastructural gap in the country? Will this provide the much needed stimulants for economic growth and ease
of doing business? Has the local contractor, Sermatech Construction Company which handled the project met the
completion period of 24 months? Would the federal government say with any iota of confidence that Cross River and Akwa Ibom states have benefitted or are in any way better off in its (FG’s) heavy investment in the provision of critical infrastructure with at least one ongoing road project per state? Are people and residents of the two sister states or those traversing through their landscapes happy enough to declare their travel comfort upon the acclaimed “massive infrastructure development was embarked on by the present administration across the six geopolitical
zones in the country” as the Director in charge of Highways, Construction and Rehabilitations in the Ministry, Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi stated? What quality of work can guarantee that 73-km single carriage way linking the industrial town of Akamkpa to Biase-Yakurr road will not deteriorate soon with its frequent plying by industrialists around the area? Will the shoulders of the road not completely erode, the entire alignment not be riddled with alligator cracks or be characterized by potholes in a short while after the rehab? Having inspected other “completed and ongoing
rehabilitation projects along the Calabar-Ikom- Ogoja federal highway”, how impressed was the minister and his
entourage with what they heard from his Federal Controller of Works in the state, Engr. Bassey Nsentip who led the
inspection?

It is a practical thing for the people to judge for themselves as the officials lay claims of perfection through the scope of work for the contract which “entails site clearance of shoulders, scarification of the existing failed carriage way and the provision of asphaltic concrete surfacing. “The scope of work also includes surface dressing of shoulders, concrete lined drains, de-silting of blocked culverts, reinforced concrete pipe culverts among others. “When completed, the road will greatly reduce vehicle operation maintenance cost, improve travel time, reduce accidents, as well as loss of lives and properties. “It will also enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of the people along the
corridor, generate employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour and assist in the fight against crime,” he said. In the same track, could the FG rationalize why it should not/reimburse/has not reimbursed state
governments that diligently took over its bounden responsibility, all be it based on agreements, of repairing/rehabilitating the Trunk A roads in their states?

Read more

AYADE: CROSS RIVER NOODLES FACTORY COMMENCES PRODUCTION SOON

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state has likened his industrialization policy to pioneering an industrial revolution in Nigeria. The governor stated this while inspecting the installation of equipment at the state-owned
“Calavita” noodles factory currently under construction. The noodles factory is one of the industries established by the governor at the industrial park, Calabar. According to the him, his efforts at industrializing Cross River by citing industries across the state, is the first time in Nigeria’s recent history that a state government has driven industrialisation on a large scale. “You have private sector-driven industrialization but this is the first time in recent history of Nigeria that a state government has embarked on large scale industrialisation. Cross River is actually
pioneering industrial revolution in Nigeria”, the governor stated.

He disclosed that the noodles factory will wrought a paradigm shift in the noodles market when operational. “Calavita noodles will be made from rice as opposed to wheat. And the rice is freshly home grown rice. Calavita noodles will come in three flavours – rice, chicken and suya. It is a digital replacement of existing noodles,” he explained. The governor expressed delight that the noodles factory, which according to him, would soon commence production, is a veritable income earner for Cross River. “I’m happy that we are bringing food technology and fusing it with the issues of food security. We are ensuring that Cross River wins a bit of the market share of the school feeding programme for which federal government has spent ₦228 billion. “NAFDAC is coming for final inspection after which it will issue license and the factory will commence production”, he disclosed. Governor Ayade appealed to the people of the state and Nigerians to patronize “Calavita” noodles when the factory starts rolling out its products.

Read more

WE’LL KEEP FORMULATING TAX POLICIES TO ENHANCE ECONOMIC GROWTH – MBU-OGAR

The Legislature representing Etung State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly and Member, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Chris Njah Mbu-Ogar has assured State Ministries and Agencies (MDAs) that the Committee will continue to collaborate with the House to formulate policies aimed at enhancing economic growth in the state. Mbu-Ogar stated this shortly after a Committee meeting with the State
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Chairman, Mr. Akpanke Ogar in his office recently.

He commended the Chairman for the remarkable record created in recent times in the sector especially in surpassing the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) benchmark for the year, as well as easing the tax burden on Cross Riverians. The Member, who is also Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, Industries, PPP and Privatization, said the State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade is particularly passionate about the economy of the State, hence his administration’s giant strides in Entrepreneurship and Industrialization.

He promised on behalf of his colleagues that they will not rest on their efforts in formulating tax policies to encourage economic growth in the State. >>>

Read more

CRHA: PAC SET TO RECOVER PUBLIC FUNDS BASED ON LG ACCOUNTS AUDIT

The Cross River State House Assembly’s Committee on Public Accounts has vowed to recover all public funds not accounted for by former leaders of the third tier of Government from 2011 – 2015. The Chairman of the Committee and Member representing Obubra I, Rt. Hon. Friday Gabriel Okpechi disclosed this when Ikom and Etung Local Government Councils took their turns to offer explanations in the Committee’s ongoing verification of the Audited Accounts of the 18 Local Government Councils as submitted to the house by the State Auditor General for Local Governments.

Okpechi frowned at the attitude of nonretirements of financial advances granted officials and other transactions carried out through sundry shortcuts or without due process. Also speaking, the Committee’s Vice Chairman and Member representing Bekwarra, Hon. Edward Ajang charged functionaries of LGCs to cooperate with the Committee by ensuring all defaulters appear before it to answer questions, adding that the 9th Assembly is very concerned about the prudent management of public funds. In response, the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA),
Ikom, Mr. Julius Adie promised to carry out the Committee’s directives accordingly.

Present at the interactive meeting was House Deputy Leader, Rt. Hon. Fred Osim and Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Ironbar,
Member representing Akpabuyo. The Committee adjourned to reconvene the next day with Obubra Local Government Council.>>>

Read more

COMMODITY DEPOT AND CONTROL CENTRE BOARD BILL ND SCALES 2 READING

The Cross River State House of Assembly has read the bill to read the bill to provide for the Cross River State “Commodity Depot and Control Center Board Bill 2019, for the second time. The sponsor of the bill and Member representing Boki 11 State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Hilary Ekpang Bisong said the bill seeks to revolutionize Agriculture in the state, owing to the State industrialization drive of Governor Ayade led administration. The sponsor explained that the intention of the bill is to provide a medium where farm produce are produce and preserved for market within the State as well as export. Bisong explained further that the State’s locally produced raw materials
will be processed in finished goods which will add to the State economy and also regulates the products.

Also speaking, one of the Co-sponsors and deputy leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Fred Okpa Osim, maintained that as an agrarian state our problems had been how to preserve our farm produce, noting that the bill seeks to provide for
such facilities, adding that the bill will also create opportunities to access loans. While, Hon. Cynthia Nkasi, Member
representing Yala 11, another Co-sponsor, assured that the bill when past into law, will empower farmers in the
State, as well as create wealth. The Member representing Etung State Constituency and yet another Co-sponsor of
bill, Hon. Chris Njah Mbu-Ogar, noted that the bill will lent credence to the economic diversification of the Federal Government, when past into law, adding that it will also symbolise Cross River State owned commodities, as well as promote productivity. Members reacted positively commending the sponsor, describing it as timely, noting that the
state will be positioned to attain her rightful place in Agricultural production, when the bill is passed into law.>>>

Read more

LAWMAKER INAUGURATES LEEDS COMMITTEE FOR CONSTITUENCY

The member representing Obudu State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. Godwin Akwaji, has set up a 10-man Local Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LEEDS) Committee to
assess the needs of his constituents. Inaugurating the Committee, Hon. Akwaji, recalled that during his electioneering campaign, he had promised to carryout baseline needs assessment to ascertain areas which needed urgent intervention. He noted that a lot still needs to be done in Obudu, adding that the Committee will provide a platform for conversation with constituents to assist him deliver the gains of democracy.

The lawmaker, maintained that as much as the constituency has their illustrious son, Sir Ben Ayade as the Governor of the State, it is incumbent on the constituency to provide the state chief executive with the relevant information to develop the constituency, he adding that “Obudu deserves more than what she has now”. The committee which is
headed by Hon. Tony Adah is saddled with the mandate of looking at the Education, Health, Roads, Water and Sanitation, Electricity as well as Security sectors. Other fields include Sports Empowerment and Training programs for youths, women, the aged and other vulnerable persons in the constituency. He therefore, enjoined the committee to interact with relevant institutions and groups with a view to identifying all areas for possible interventions.
Also speaking, the State Chief Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), Sir Paul Bepeh commended Hon. Akwaji for inaugurating the committee and urged that the transportation sector be included in its mandate.

On her part, Hon. Atsu, an advocate for women and community motivator was joyous that the committee is gender sensitive and charged members to work towards its success. In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee and former Commissioner, Local Government Service Commission, Hon. Tony Adah thanked Hon. Akwaji for finding them worthy of the task and assured that they will try their best to discharge the assignment. Membership of the
committee was drawn from the 10 political wards of Obudu Mr. Tony Ulayi as Secretary and Katie Agba Ajibike, Dr. Starry Ogboaka, Justina Aniah, Emmanuel Utande and Hon. Mike Ube as members. Also named members are,
Rose Abua, Elijah Ugani and James Ngbe Achu.

Read more

State Appropriation Bill, 2020 Passes 2 Reading in the House

The Cross River State Appropriation Bill 2020 has passed through second reading in the State House of Assembly.
Members while deliberating on the motion for second reading of the bill observed amongst others that the budget proposal of 1.1 trillion is achievable and commended the State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade for allocating an estimate of over 80% of the bill as capital expenditure, which according to members will further promote the state’s industrialization drive.

Upon members’ unanimous agreement to read the appropriation bill for the second time, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams committed it to the Committee on Finance and Appropriation directing it to report back to the House in two weeks. It would be recalled that Governor Ayade had on November 21, 2019 presented a budget size of 1.1 trillion naira tagged Budget of “Olimpotic Meristemassis” composed of 911 billion naira or 82 percent for capital expenditure and 188 billion or 17.2 per as recurrent.>>>

Read more

2018 FINANCIAL REPORT FROM STATE AUDITOR GENERAL

The State Auditor General, Mr. Chris Etim Nyong has submitted the Audited Accounts of the State Government for year financial ended, 31st December, 2018 to the State Legislature. Presenting the report before members, the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Elder Bassey Ekpenyong, a Legal Practitioner, in a correspondence to the House dated 30th September, 2019, acknowledged the report is the “Cross River State Audited Accounts 2018 Financial year, 31st December, 2018”.

The Speaker thereafter referred the document to the House Committee on Public Accounts for indepth study and which is expected to report back to the House in three weeks. However, consideration of the Cross River State Food Safety Bill scheduled for deliberation was rescheduled after which the House adjourned sitting to Wednesday, 9th October 2019 for plenary. >>>

Read more