By Our Reporter
Governor Bassey Otu has signed the ‘Peoples First’ Budget of N296,985 631,978, 1k into law.
The event, which happened on Friday in the temporary office of the Governor’s Office in Calabar, has the economic sector topping with N104,986,870,898.59 billion.
Governor Otu when presenting the estimates to the State House of Assembly on October 26, said, “We have prioritised a higher capital expenditure over recurrent expenditure in our public expenditure structure.
“As a deliberate principle, we have maintained a higher capital–recurrent expenditure of 61.6% to 38.4%.
“This not only emphasises the importance of structural development but also a demonstration of the State’s commitment to the provision of the much-needed infrastructural facilities in our rural and urban centres.”
Though the Governor had proposed a budget size of N250 billion with N154 billion as capital expenditure and N96 billion for recurrent expenditure, the Assembly jerked it up by N46 billion to N296 billion.
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The new budget bucket has a capital expenditure of N180 billion and a recurrent expenditure of N116 billion.
Speaking at the budget signing, Governor Otu said, “The increase is predicated on the need to provide adequate financial support to our people living with disabilities which I requested, after laying the Budget proposal before the State House of Assembly.
“The increase in the budget allocation for this community is not just a necessity but a moral imperative: to erase social imbalance of this special demographics as they are a vulnerable group. They require specialised care, adaptive equipment, and access to resources that accommodate their unique needs.
“This increase will facilitate better access to healthcare, assistive technologies, education, and employment opportunities tailored to their capabilities. Therefore, it is not just a fiscal decision but a statement of our values as a society which is espoused by my administration.
“In addition, there is an upscale budgetary provision for payment of gratuity, debt services, counterpart funds, nutrition activities, social protection, climate change and gender-responsive budget.”
He further assured that “This Administration is committed to prudent spending, effective governance, and unwavering dedication to the welfare of our people.
“Towards this end, I have directed that efforts be made to ensure the earlier submission of the 2024-2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
“To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2024 Budget, we will further intensify our revenue mobilisation efforts.”
Aware of dwindling revenue inflow, the Governor noted, “I am optimistic about our ability to finance the budget with creative funding options. We hope to surpass our revenue targets, therefore, revenue-generating agencies, and indeed all MDAs must ensure prompt and full remittances of collected revenues.”
Highlights of the budget include; 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.