Cross River allocates N44 billion to health

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State

The Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade says 44 billion naira has been allotted for health sector reforms in the 2020 appropriation bill presented before the legislature in Calabar.

Presenting a budget of One trillion, one hundred billion, one hundred and sixty-seven million, five hundred and seven thousand naira, nine Kobo (1,100,167,507,000.09), Governor Ayade stated that more emphasis was given to the health sector for improved citizens welfare.

Ayade said “there are sectors in the 2020 budget that we placed great emphasis on, one is health. We have a provision for 44 billion naira to cater to the health sector. The whole idea is in Section 14, sub-section 2 of our constitution, which provides clearly that the welfare and security of the citizen is on government”.

“the welfare of our citizens irrespective of government, irrespective of class, status, education is the responsibility of government. So, the Ayade Care programmes, which we have started with the establishment of three specialists’ hospitals across the three senatorial district that provides for the zero income earners, will fully be realized,” stated Ayade.

He explained that the government was commencing the process of procuring equipment for the hospitals, noting “by April next year, the hospitals will become operational. There is provision for equipment, drugs, and we hope that by then we would have been able to complete Calapharm so that the company can supply the drugs so that our people will have free medical service”.

Health Insurance

The Governor further disclosed that funding for the health sector would be sourced from residents, who are within the tax band, stating that the fund would be injected into its social health insurance scheme tagged “Ayade Care”.

He explained, “we will come back to the house to seek approval for every citizen, indigenes and non-indigenes, every resident in Cross River State, as far as you are within the working class, within the tax band, you are expected to pay one thousand naira monthly.”

“Cross River has a population of 4.3 million people, if only one billion people pay one thousand naira per month, it would make it possible for those who do not have, their medicals is provided for by those who have”, he stated.

Budget Funding

On the overall funding of the budget, Governor Ayade said that “350 billion naira would be direct foreign investment. We are hoping also that the investments in our various industries, such as the garment factory, Instant Noodles factory, Feed Mill, Cocoa Processing Plant, Chocolate factory, Rice Mill, the list is endless, are expected to bring in an income in excess of 380 billion naira”.

He also said that the 2020 budget would receive a boost from sales of plots of land within the Ayade Industrial Park to investors to the sum of 12 billion naira, noting “the cumulative income and expected inflows, which forms our capital receipt is derived mostly from the intellectual platform. It is a product of last three years’ aggressive investment because by the end of the first quarter, all the factories would be functional”.

Governor Ayade stated that provided in the 2020 fiscal bill, is an estimated 120-billion-naira receipt from federal allocation, which is expected to increase due to the growth in the nation’s revenue since the close of land border.

Legislative Collaboration

In his response, Eteng Williams, the Speaker of the State Assembly promised to give the necessary support by fast track the passage of the bill into law within three weeks

The speaker noted that since 2015, Governor Ayade has presented the budgets in the most exciting and special way, noting “the annual budget presentations have become exciting and special as well as an academic exercise”.

It would be recalled that the 2016 appropriation bill was tagged, “Budget of Deep Vision”; 2017 it was “Budget of Infinite Transposition”, “Budget of Kinetic Crystallization” came in 2018, while the 2019 appropriation bill was christened “Budget of Qabalistic Densification”.

The title of the 2020 budget remains “budget of Olimpotic meristemasis”

Bilkisu Pai