The Federal Government has sunk over N2 billion in various developmental projects in Cross River State. Giving account of his stewardship in Calabar yesterday, Eta Mbora, representing Calabar/Odukpani Constituency in the House of Representatives, told newsmen that the Federal Government had been intervening in various projects he attracted to his constituency and the annual strategic empowerment programme targeted at job creation.
He said, “The projects estimated at over N2 billion include the four-kilometre Akim Akim road terminating at the river, rural electrification scheme at Okut Ikang, another four-kilometre road network at Obot Okor to enhance evacuation of farm produce, and the Ikoneto embankment in Odukpani to curtail landslide.”
Others, according to him, include Nasarawa Health Centre and several solar-powered boreholes in the constituency.He assured that the projects would be ready for commissioning soon. However, we gathered that the state government is indebted to the tune of N241 billion.
The development might have been the reason the state never had a detailed budget and sector-by-sector breakdown in the public glare between 2015 and 2019.In the period under review, the state had budgeted N303 billion in 2016, N707 billion in 2017, N1.3 trillion in 2018 and N1.4 trillion in 2019.
According to 2018 report of Economic Confidential, the state’s financial burden stood at N235.9 billion, with $276.2 million foreign debt and N167.9 billion domestic debt.
But latest reports put the debt at N240.9 billion, thus shifting the domestic debt from N167.9 billion to N172.9 billion.Governor Ben Ayade, who presented the 2019 ‘Budget of Quabalistic Densification’ to the House of Assembly, said the budget was spiritual and would need fervent prayers to enable the state implement it successfully.He disclosed that the state was spending N1.8 billion monthly to service debts, and that the performance of last year’s ‘Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation’ was up to 74 per cent.
According to his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, an average of N2 billion gets to the state monthly, much of which was spent on salary.He did not see anything wrong in government borrowing to pay pensions and gratuities.On average of N2 billion monthly, The Guardian observed that over N108 billion might have entered the state between 2015 and 2019 as allocation from the federation account.
By the time former Governor Liyel Imoke left office in May 2015, his former Special Adviser on Debt Management, Mrs. Francesca Effiom, put the state’s debt profile at N123.9 billion, external debts of N13.5 billion domestic debts put at N110.4 billion.