The global economic meltdown takes its toll on the Cross River State economy
By Increase Abasi-Ubong
The state government which had embarked on aggressive infrastructural development including, construction and rehabilitation of roads as well as rural electrification, has had to scale down some of the projects.
Sources at the Diamond Hill Government House told this magazine that the state government has placed embargo on the award of new contracts. The state government is also said to have decided to suspend all ongoing projects due to its dwindling economy.
Government's decision not to award new contracts is adversely affecting the state. Predominantly a civil service state, enterpreneurs in Cross River State depend solely on government for survival, so government's decision not to award new contracts may force some businesses in the state to fold up.
While presenting the 2009 budget to the state House of Assembly, Governor Liyel Imoke disclosed that the state is seriously hit by the economic recession noting that the state “cannot ignore the ominous signs now gathering like a storm in the cloud of the international sky. “The global meltdown along with all the accompanying indications suggests that all is not well and this demands from us, a new strategy of survival in these trying times. This is why we have tried to be pragmatic as possible in our approach to making choices,” he further stated.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Kelly Ayamba told Newsworld that despite the circumstance, the state government has devised strategies for survival.
He further told this magazine that the state has adopted survival strategies including exploring and maximally harnessing, “all legal sources of internally generated revenue available to the state with a view to providing in the long run, a viable alternative source of funding for government programmes.”
The special adviser to the governor (Budget Monitoring and Evaluation), Dr. Peter Oti told Newsworld that despite the challenges posed by the global economic meltdown, the state government is committed towards achieving its set goals. “There may be challenges no doubt, but government would be pro-active in policy formulation and implementation.”
Dr. Oti further told this magazine that while the state started 2009 with a bleak future due to the global economic meltdown, “this situation is a signal for us to be inward looking and take firm charge of situations we can control.”
On measures put in place by the state government to cushion the effect of the economic recession, he noted with regrets that, “since inflow from the federation account cannot be fully relied on, we must make effort to step up our state machinery for internally generated revenue.”