4 December 2019
The presentation of the 2020 Budget of Olympotic Meristemasis pegged at 1.1trillion Naira by the Executive Governor of Cross River State to the 9th Cross River State House of Assembly CRSHA has been faulted by a financial expert.
Cijeyu Ojong (popularly known as Ceejay Ojong on social media) an economist and public financial management expert on Tuesday disclosed that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework MTEF was supposed to have been presented to the State House of Assembly before the 2020 appropriation bill.
The chartered accountant and licensed international financial analyst further stressed that for the MTEF to have been prepared then there had to be a properly constituted State Executive Council which would have approved the budget before its presentation to the state legislature.
Ojong made this known while reacting to an editorial by NEGROIDHAVEN dated 3rd December 2019 and titled: 'Olimpotic Meristemasis: Gov Ben Ayade may've Violated the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007'. The financial expert who said that the budgets (I think refering to previous and current budgets of the state governor) were painfully unrealistic and capable of evoking laughter. He declared that the state governor did not follow due process in preparing the budget.
His words in part, 'The MTEF should have been presented to the State Assembly before the Annual Budget no doubt. But that can't happen without a properly constituted State EXCO. Even the Budget itself ought to have received the approval of the State EXCO before presentation to the State Assembly.
'Problem is, the current Sole Administrator pattern of governance simply stalls progress on many fronts and makes mockery of democratic governance.
'Yet, everyone just continues to keep quiet. A bully is said to always gain more confidence when s/he is unchallenged and cheered even in wrongdoing.
'Then again, the budgets are so painfully unrealistic as to evoke both sardonic laughter and sympathy at the same time. The MTEF/FSP where submitted would have been accompanied with 3-year revenue and financial projections. That would have revealed the soft underbelly of the bogus and unrealistic budget estimates.
'So, HE conveniently by-passed and ignored the due democratic process for doing these things knowing that nothing will happen. We are a beleaguered, subdued and docile people who would instead sing a him vainglorious digital hosanna.' He said.
Continuing, Ojong noted that for self-serving economic, and political reasons brilliant members of the state are keeping mute. According to him, 'Sadly, our mostly brilliant minded people have been reduced perhaps by hunger and seeking of appointments and political power into a hosanna choir for every good, bad and ugly adventures or misadventures in governance.'
Recall that Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade, Thursday, presented an appropriation bill of one trillion, one hundred billion, one hundred and sixty seven million, five hundred and seven thousand naira, nine kobo, for the 2020 fiscal year.
Tagged 'Budget of Olimpotic Meristemasis', it has a capital expenditure of N911 billion representing 82.8 percent of the budget and a recurrent expenditure of N188 billion, representing 17.2 percent of the budget.
Ayade described the budget as one that is anchored on a belief 'in the spiritual force which is the third energy.'
The last MTEF for the state was presented in 2017 under the speakership of John Gaul Lebo, while Eteng Jonah Williams the incumbent Speaker was the Chair House Committee on Finance and Appropriation.