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Cross River crashes 2020 budget from N1.1 trillion to N147 billion

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Group donates to FRSC against COVID-19
Amid current realities such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other economic indices, Cross River State government has slashed its 2020 ‘Budget of Olimpotic Meristamasis’ by about 80 per cent.

The initial budget of N1.1 trillion was reduced to N147 billion, as the state government led by Professor Ben Ayade decided to embark on some measures to alleviate hardship and cushion the effect of the pandemic.

Briefing newsmen yesterday at the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) office in Calabar, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong (Jnr.) said: “Nigeria is not left out in this crisis caused by COVID-19. This has caused untold hardship across the world and resulted in global economic crisis. As a result, the state government has reviewed its 2020 budget and amended it in line with current economic realities. The exercise had in participation all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the state.

“This budget has been submitted to the House of Assembly for consideration, review and possible regulation. The amended budget has a new figure of N147.130 billion.”

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Justifying the slash, the BIRS chairman, Mr. Akpanke Ogar, said: “This regime of tax incentives has been provided by the state government as one of the many avenues to cushion the impact of COVID-19 ravaging most parts of the world.”

However, former governorship candidate of Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA), Goddie Akpama, and other critics had described the initial budget as a new drama with Ayade and his team as the cast.

With the recent re-opening of state borders and the incidence of COVID-19, the Freemasons of Calabar Lodge, at weekend, donated nose masks and hand sanitisers to the state’s command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to fight against the pandemic.

The District Officer of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria, who is also the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi and Chairman of Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council, Dr. Etim Edet, said: “Men of the FRSC are always on the frontline, and the times we are in are not good because they have a high tendency of getting infected easily. Therefore, the donation of nose masks and hand sanitisers is very pertinent at this point in time.”

In his response, the Head of Operations, FRSC, Cross River command, Benedict Akune, commended the Lodge for the gesture, noting that the FRSC was doing its best to ensure that commuters maintained the recommended protocols against the pandemic.

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