By John Ighodaro
CALABARâ€”Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River has assented to the amendment of the State Appropriation Bill of 2009 following the ceding of 176 oil wells from Cross River to neighbouring Akwa Ibom.
Special Adviser, Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Peter Oti, explained that the amendment, which is a reduction, has trimmed the 2009 budget size from N107,021,984,521 to N85,225,563,671, which reflects 20.37 percent drop.
His words:Â â€œThis means a Recurrent Expenditure from N37,747,118,144 to N36,772,112,168 or 2.58 percent and Capital Expenditure from N69,274,866,377 to N48,453,451,503 or 30 percent.â€
He further explained that the decision to revise the budget downward was a result of the sharp drop in the inflow from the Federation Account.
Oti disclosed that the stateâ€™s half-year performance report indicated a drop of 47 percent of inflow from federation account.
Adding that the state was looking inwards to evolve strategies to cope with the hard times.
He listed such measures to include reordering of priorities, stepping up of effort in internal revenue generation and minimizing waste, adding that â€œthe system of budgeting, which we have adopted, is an appropriate tool to accomplish these desires and we are making the best use of itâ€.
Oti called on the business community and individuals to live up to their civic and social responsibilities by paying their taxes to enable government provide social services.
He, however, remarked that the reduction will not affect payment of personnel emolument and advised those in the employ of the state government not to express fears.
He stressed that projects initiated by the state government may experience delay, but spoke of governmentâ€™s to good governance and service delivery.
He referred to the steps taken by the state as sad, worrisome and embarrassing because it happened at a time some other states were reviewing their budgets upward.