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Mixed reactions greet CRS N1.3trn budget

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

Mixed reactions have greeted the 2018 budget estimate of N1.3 trillion presented by Governor Ben Ayade before the Cross River State House of Assembly last Thursday.

While government officials are hailing the governor for his vision towards the development of the state with such huge budget, particularly as construction works on the super highway and deep seaport kicks off, others see the appropriation bill tagged budget of ‘Kinetic Crystallisation,’ as an unrealisable tall dream.

It would be recalled that the governor said during the presentation that: “It is a budget that crystallises the depth of our vision into action in the year 2018. It is meant to draw the perspective of a humongous, large, ambitious budget. It is not enveloped by our purchasing capacity but by the capacity of our thought process. It is designed and tailored to fit our dream.”

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But those who bared their mind on the matter disagree. Speaking, Calabar-based radio presenter with Hit FM, Mr. Iwara Iwara, said: “The comedy of errors is back. Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation … Three questions have been raised by Ken Assim-ita of the Calabar Chamber of Commerce and Industry concerning the appropriation bill: What is our internally generated revenue profile? What are expectations from FAAC? How is the deficit going to be financed? These are questions begging for immediate answers…”

“…on a normal day, those indicators and expectations ought to be observed. But what I think has happened is the state government anticipates accessing loans, and some of these hard lenders, especially those in Europe and Japan, may want to see high proposed income streams into the state coffers. I may be wrong, but I think the budget is designed that way to meet certain financial expectations and borrowing criteria set forth by lenders,” Iwara stated.

To Barr Joseph Odok, the budget is “another form of digitalisation of geometric retrogression of Cross River State. Kaduna State presented N216.6 billion, Kano State presented N233 billion, Cross River State is presenting a budget of N1.3 trillion. Not even Lagos State budget has passed N900 billion. One, therefore, wonders were Cross River will generate funds to execute N1.3 trillion budget with its huge national and international debt ratio. Let’s see how our legislators will collaborate with our governor to send Cross River to perpetual debts…”

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Agba Jalingo, an online publisher, in his reaction said, “If Lagos State, Nigeria’s financial capital and economic power house, is expected to present an ambitious N1.1 trillion budget for 2018, how will Cross River State that gets the second least allocation with only about N1 billion IGR, generate N1.3 trillion (to fund) Budget of Kinetic Crystallization for 2018?

A popular commentator, Princewill Odidi, in his reaction opined that “kinetic energy is the energy of motion, so a Kinetic Budget is a budget in motion. However, the budget is not just in motion; it is in the process of crystallisation.  Now, Crystallisation is the process of solidifying from solution, the process through which solids are formed from liquids. Cross River State budget has been in liquid state in the past two years, it is about being crystallised to solid realities.

“So, Budget plus Kinetic plus Crystallisation equals to a budget that has been in motion between 2015 to 2017 and it is in the process of formation to crystals. The crystals here refer to the gains or dividends of democracy three years going. What better way to define a landmark budget, first in Nigeria’s history.

Sounding disappointed, Mr. Missang Oyama said “these voodoo and imaginary budgets of Governor Ayade are getting more nauseating by the day to say the least. The fundamental assumptions and benchmarks of Governor Ayade’s budgets defy known logic of public finance and budgeting.”

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