Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, on Tuesday wept openly when he signed the state’s 2018 N1.3 trillion budget into law.
Ayade, who was overtaken with emotion after signing the budget, shed tears and asked for God’s intervention towards the successful implementation of the budget.
Tearfully, Ayade handed over a signed copy of the budget to a clergyman who attended the ceremony to lead everyone in prayers and supplication for God’s divine intervention for the successful implementation of the budget.
Explaining the importance of the budget christened, ‘Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation,’ the governor said the signing of the budget was epochal in history because it was the first time to pass a N1 trillion mark budget in the state and the nation.
“This is the first trillion naira budget by a state government in the annals of Nigerian history, and therefore it is unique and ambitious and intended to decouple the state from dependence on Federation Account.
“The philosophy behind the budget is the spirit of we can do it and create a new vista, thinking and horizon that would take us out of the woods. It is high time we brought to an end the civil service status mentality we have found ourselves in by thinking outside the box,” Ayade said.
Ayade commended the state House of Assembly for the deep understanding of the budget proposal, and the intricacies that led to its passage into law.
The governor described the state legislature as a great stabilising factor in his administration.
The Speaker of the assembly, Mr. John Gaul Lebo, who presented a copy of the budget before it was signed, said the House had interfaced with various ministries, department and agencies before the passage of the budget.
“We had extensive engagements with all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to arrive at N1.3 trillion. The budget is designed in terms of international benchmarks of deficit and envelop budget.
“We shall in line with Section 122 of the Constitution, carry out rigorous oversight functions to ensure that the budget is implemented to deepen the dividends of democracy,” the speaker said.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong, said the passage and signing of the budget was an indication of the cordial relationship between the executive and legislature was aimed at the overall interest of the ordinary citizens of the state.
“This budget is intended to crystallise and implement the visions that have been so far formulated by the administration. We are entering the fourth year, so this is the time to deliver on the mandate and the promises we made to the people.
“There is going to be a trickle down effect as we start implementing the budget and Cross Riverians are going to benefit from the multiplier effect if they position themselves well,” Ekpenyong said.