Governor Bassey Edet Otu of Cross River State has officially signed into law a budget amounting to N296,985,631,978, aptly named the “People’s First Budget.” The signing ceremony, held at the temporary Governor’s Office in Calabar, witnessed the economic sector taking precedence with an allocation of N104,986,870,898.59.

Presenting the estimates to the State House of Assembly on October 26, Governor Otu emphasized the prioritization of higher capital expenditure over recurrent expenditure, maintaining a ratio of 61.6% to 38.4%. This strategic allocation underscores the state’s commitment to structural development, particularly in providing essential infrastructural facilities for both rural and urban centers.

Initially proposing a budget size of N250 billion with N154 billion for capital expenditure and N96 billion for recurrent expenditure, Governor Otu’s proposal saw an increase of N46 billion by the Assembly, resulting in the final approved budget of N296 billion. The revised budget details a capital expenditure of N180 billion and recurrent expenditure of N116 billion.

During the budget signing, Governor Otu explained the rationale behind the increase, citing the need to provide adequate financial support for individuals living with disabilities. He stated, “This increase will facilitate better access to healthcare, assistive technologies, education, and employment opportunities tailored to their capabilities.”

The Governor emphasized that the budget reflects not just a fiscal decision but a manifestation of the state’s values, especially in areas such as gratuity payment, debt services, counterpart funds, nutrition activities, social protection, climate change, and gender-responsive budgeting.

Governor Otu concluded, “This administration is committed to prudent spending, effective governance, and unwavering dedication to the welfare of our people. To this end, I have directed efforts to ensure the earlier submission of the 2024-2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.”

Key highlights of the budget include allocations to the economic sector (N104,986,870,898.59 billion), general administration (N95,815,641,732.54 billion), law and justice (N7,947,139,687.33 billion), regional sector (N1,262,390,126.52 billion), and social sector (N86,973,489,533.02 billion).

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