Ayade Weeps Over Tax Burden On Low-Income Earners, Grants Tax Exemption

 

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, burst into tears on Thursday as he decried the tax burden on low-income earners in the state.

“This is not Ben Ayade, this is not my nature,” the Governor said. “I am not wired for this insensitivity to a weaker person. I never knew that five years into office as Governor, I will still find someone living in a thatched house in Cross River.”

The Governor went on to inaugurate an anti-tax agency designed to abolish payment of taxes by low-income earners.

The move is part of the state’s COVID-19 palliative measures.

Ayade added that the tax exemption is aimed at encouraging small and medium scale businesses, peasant farmers, commercial transport operators, food vendors, hotels with less than 50 rooms, and all those struggling to earn a living in order to expand and create a livelihood for their families.

Speaking at the Government House in Calabar on Thursday, Ayade frowned at the activities of illegal tax consultants who extort money from the poor and vulnerable, a practice he says discourages the establishment and expansion of infant industries.

Governor Ayade said he is not interested in generating income from all sources as he further charged the members of the newly inaugurated Agency, who are all religious leaders, to take their assignment seriously by vindicating the poor and Vulnerable from paying tax.

The Chairman of the Agency, Bishop Emma Isong assured the public that the Agency will spread its tentacles across the 18 Local Governments of the state with all levels of fairness and equity in order to commercialize the state and encourage businesses.

Churches, Mosques To Resume Activities In Cross River, Says Ayade

Easter: Ayade Calls For Peace, Prayers For Leaders
A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

 

 

The Cross River State government has lifted the ban on public worship earlier imposed as part of the measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

Governor Ben Ayade gave the directive on Wednesday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita.

According to him, the directive will take effect from Sunday, May 24, but the use of face masks remains compulsory for all worshippers.

The governor ordered that worships in Churches and Mosques should be permitted but limited to their sitting capacities.

He also asked the authorities in various places of worship to provide buckets for worshippers to wash their hands or sanitisers in the absence of water.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records Eight More COVID-19 Deaths, Total Now 200

Governor Ayade thanked the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Christians of various denominations, as well as the Muslim community in Cross River for their support and cooperation during the period of the ban.

He noted that the understanding and cooperation of religious leaders contributed immensely in keeping the state free of COVID-19 so far.

According to the governor, the decision to lift the ban on public worship follows the consideration of the ‘spiritual economy’ and in response to appeals by religious leaders in the state.

Ayade Asks FG To Lift Ban On Domestic Flights

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has called on the Federal Government to lift the ban on domestic flights to allow local businesses to thrive.

Ayade while inspecting the ongoing asphalting of the dualised Odukpani-Calabar highway in the state on Sunday told journalists that the ban on domestic flights for the next four weeks will deal a great blow on local businesses and affect the nation’s economy negatively.

READ ALSO: Allow Healthy People To Work – Ayade Asks FG To Discontinue Total Lockdown

“We want to plead with Mr President to kindly review the option of keeping the Nigerian airways closed for another four weeks.

“Hotels are dying and laying off workers. Food suppliers and vendors are laying off workers. An additional four weeks will be a great blow and it will be difficult for some businesses to survive.

“As we continue to lock the domestic airports for another four weeks, what we are going to have in terms of economic loss, and in terms of social delinquency, the associated moral and social tension that will come with it, will be just too huge for the country to bear,” he said.

Ayade said rather than ban domestic flights, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) should devise strict guidelines to enable the aviation sector to continue to operate without increasing the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“The country is awash with massive unemployment. NCDC should come up with a policy to keep our people safe while we let our domestic businesses thrive.

“We can still be safe while allowing the internals of Nigeria to run. We can do so by allowing the domestic airlines to start flying,” he added.

The Federal Government had earlier on May 6 imposed an additional four-week ban on flight operations across the country as a measure to check the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika while making the announcement said the aviation sector was recording huge losses as a result of the lockdown, adding that many airlines would not survive the economic loss as a fallout of COVID-19.

COVID-19: Lagos, Kano Order Face Masks From Cross River

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade speaks inspecting the production of masks at the state’s Garment Factory in Calabar.

 

Cross River State Government has received purchasing orders from the governments of Lagos and Kano States to supply nose masks.

Governor Ben Ayade disclosed this on Monday while inspecting the production of masks at the state’s Garment Factory in Calabar.

Lagos requested for one million pieces while Kano demanded another 100,000 pieces to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The governor noted that the garment factory is well-positioned to supply cloth mask of global standard to all states in the country even as he seeks nationwide patronage.

Ayade who further stated that the use of facemask will help in curbing the spread of the COVID-19, also maintained that his different choices of cloth mask is not just for fashion and aesthetics but to raise awareness on the use of nose mask even among the elites.

The Governor also made a pledge donation of 50,000 masks to all neighbouring states comprising of Akwa Ibom, Benue, Ebonyi as well as supporting Lagos with 100,000 pieces and Kano with 50,000 pieces as a reward for their purchase and patronage.

He, however, asked the Federal Government to support the state in order to export masks to other African countries as a measure to check COVID-19 spread.

Ayade, Ortom, Uzodinma, Ganduje Mourn Abba Kyari

Ben Ayade                        Samuel Ortom                      Hope Uzodinma                  Abdullahi Ganduje

 

 

Four more governors have mourned the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, who died from complications caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

In separate statements on Saturday, the governors of Cross River, Benue, Imo, and Kano States condoled with President Muhammadu Buhari over the death of his aide.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River said he was utterly depressed by the sad news of Kyari’s death, saying his departure was a great loss to the nation.

“We have lost a great statesman, a consummate professional, and an exceptionally brilliant mind. Our nation has lost one of its best,” the governor said in a statement.

[READ ALSO] He Never Sought ‘Cheap Gratification Of The Crowd’: Buhari Reacts To Abba Kyari’s Death

According to him, Kyari was a patriotic statesman who was diligent and meticulous, uncommonly accommodating, and a great listener who was ever receptive to anyone who came across him.

“My heart and prayers are with the family at this very difficult moment. I pray for the repose of Mallam Kyari’s soul,” Governor Ayade added.

On his part, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, sent condolences to the President on behalf of the government and people of the state.

He said the demise of a loved one such as a trusted aide can be devastating, noting that death was an inevitable end for which mankind must prepare at all times.

Abba Kyari Testifies At President Election Tribunal
Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, attends the Federal Executive Council meeting at the State House in Abuja on July 25, 2018. The Presidency said Kyari died on April 17, 2020.

 

 

Governor Ortom also extended his sympathies to the Kyari family and prayed that God would grant the late Chief of Staff eternal rest.

For the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, Kyari was a pan-Nigerian who devoted his energy and time to the service of his country.

He condoled with President Buhari, Nigerians as well as the government and people of Borno State on the unfortunate loss.

Governor Uzodinma prayed God for the peaceful repose of the soul of the late Chief of Staff and grant the President, the family of Kyari, and his numerous friends and associates the fortitude to bear the loss.

Joining his colleagues, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State prayed for Allah’s forgiveness and blessing for Kyari whom he described as highly reserved and loyal Chief of Staff to the President.

“On behalf of the government and good people of Kano State, I am commiserating with the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, his families, and the entire Nigerians over the death of Malam Abba Kyari,” he said.

The governor added, “May Allah see him through in the hereafter. May he meet his Lord, with all cleanliness and may Allah give him everlasting peace.”

COVID-19: Ayade Declares Lockdown In Cross River, Suspends LG Polls Indefinitely

Easter: Ayade Calls For Peace, Prayers For Leaders
A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

 

 

Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, has declared a total lockdown in the state, as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The governor made the declaration in a statement on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita.

“All the entry points into Cross River State (land, air, and water) are hereby locked down. Access will be based on passing a thorough screening regime,” the statement said.

He also ordered the indefinite suspension of the Local Government Council elections scheduled to hold on Saturday in the state.

Governor Ayade directed that all educational institutions in the state – both public and private must shut down from Tuesday until further notice.

He ordered all civil servants, except those on essential services such as medical personnel and revenue officers, to stay away from work for an initial period of two weeks, with immediate effect.

The governor directed that all social, cultural, and religious activities be suspended while essential activities in the state must not have a crowd beyond five persons.

On transportation, he ordered that every tricycle and taxi should convey only one passenger at a time and must have hand sanitisers for use by their passengers.

Governor Ayade also asked commercial bus drivers to have only two passengers on a seat and sanitise their vehicles after every trip.

The statement read, “All transport companies must keep a travel manifest for inbound and outbound passengers. They must also provide hand washstands and hand sanitisers in their buses.

“Passengers are consequently encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water and sanitise them before boarding.”

The governor directed that all public areas, bars, and restaurants should be limited to five customers at a time while corporate and business organisations must keep visitors’ registers and take temperature checks of guests using a non-contact infra-red thermometer.

He said any guest with high temperature above 38 degrees Celsius should be reported immediately to the COVID-19 emergency centre.

“The Commissioner for Health should immediately set up a COVID-19 ad-hoc monitoring unit to enforce compliance to all preventive measures as highlighted.

“The governor urges absolute compliance from our people with the above guidelines for our common safety, even as government ramps up efforts to ensure the state remains safe and COVID-19 free,” the statement added.

PHOTOS: Ayade, Uzodinma Travel With Buhari For AU Summit

President Muhammadu Buhari with Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State on February 7, 2020.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday departed Abuja to attend the 33rd Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and his Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodinma, are among those accompanying the President on the visit.

The event is scheduled to hold in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city.

Also visiting the north African country are chairmen of the Committees on Foreign Affairs in the Senate and House of Representatives, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa and Yusuf Baba, respectively.

Ministers accompanying the President include Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs), Hadi Sirika (Aviation), Niyi Adebayo (Industry, Trade and Investment), Retired Major-General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Defence), and Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture).

Other government officials on the entourage are the National Security Adviser (NSA), Retired Major-General Babagana Monguno; the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar; and the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD (Nigeria), Gloria Akobundu.

See the photos below:

Gedoni Reveals Plans As Special Assistant To Cross Rivers State Governor

Gedoni Akpata

 

Former Housemate in Nigeria’s biggest reality TV show, Big Brother Naija (BBN), Gedoni Akpata has revealed his plans for his new office as the Special Assistant to Governor Ben Ayade on Garment Factory and Branding.

Speaking to Channels Television in an interview after a tour of the Garment Factory, Gedoni said his mission on the team is to put a face to the industry and make the brand widely acclaimed.

“What I am going to bring in is basically the brand. I am going to promote the garment factory as a brand,” he said.

Gedoni Akpata

He says many people are unaware of the existence of a garment factory in Cross Rivers State and now that he is on board, that narrative has to change.

“Many people wonder, ‘oh there is a garment factory in Cross Rivers State?’ Yes, indeed there is a garment factory in Cross Rivers State and it is functioning to full capacity.

“I have realised that they have more strength than they are working with right now. I am going to put a face to this.”

The Cross Rivers State garment factory has employed thousands of workers

Gedoni described the operations in the factory as a scalar quantity, noting that, “I am going to make it vector. I am here to ensure it is not just quantity.

The former BBN housemate was recently appointed as Special Assistant to the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade.

The news was shared via Instagram by Khafi, Gedoni’s fiancée who is also a former BBN housemate.

 

They both got engaged a few months after they met on the reality show.

I Think Agba Jalingo Should Be Released – Gov Ben Ayade

 

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has said he thinks the embattled journalist (Agba Jalingo) should be released from the prison. 

Speaking after a long silence on the matter, Governor Ayade said the journalist who is standing trial for treason and for allegedly criticising his government, acted out of youthful exuberance.

“I am of the opinion that Agba should be released because I think he was just youthfully excited.

“If you ask Agba Jalingo today, I am the one working with his lawyers for his freedom, I am the one sustaining him and sending upkeeps,” Ayade claimed.

The governor also denied being the one who ordered the journalist’s arrest, stating that the case is between Agba Jalingo and the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: If Security Chiefs Are Not Performing, Why Is Buhari Keeping Them – Week In Quotes

“In court, it is Federal Government versus Agba Jalingo, not Cross River State,” Mr Ayade told reporters on Monday at the presidential villa, Abuja, where he went to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

“He’s in court for treason, a state does not have the power to try anyone for treason, it’s not me.”

Governor Ayade said the arrest and trial of Agba Jalingo are in connection with Omoyele Sowore’s #RevolutionNow protest, adding that the journalist left his core profession and began to meddle into politics.

“On his Facebook page, he sent pictures where he was being teargassed at the revolution march in Lagos. His own pictures, posted by himself and when Sowore was being arrested, he went back to his Facebook to post that the revolution has just started, ‘we will continue this battle until revolution works’. He admitted this in Court.

“You are seeing him as a journalist, but he’s not, he’s the chairman of Sowore’s party in Cross River State so he’s a politician. He has a primary calling, which is journalism.

“Once he started the campaign to overthrow the government of President Buhari, he ceased to be seen from the point of a journalist because he has become the state chairman of a party,” Governor Ayade stated.

The governor reiterated that he has been working for Mr. Jalingo’s release from Calabar prison where he has been incarcerated.

Until his arrest, Mr. Jalingo was the publisher of Cross RiverWatch.

He was apprehended was on August 22 allegedly over a report suggesting that Governor Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state, a claim which the government has strongly refuted.

Cross River Flags Off Maternal New-born And Child Health, Targets Over 800,000 Children

 

The Cross River State Government on Saturday flagged off the second round of the 2019 Maternal, New-born and Child Health (MNCH) week which is usually organized twice in a year.

The initiative seeks to monitor mothers, pregnant women, and every child from 0-58 months in terms of nutrition, hygiene, and Immunisation as well as access to quality health care.

State Governor Ben Ayade who was represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu flagged off the Child Health Week at Primary Healthcare Centre, Nasarawa Community, Ikot Ekpo, Calabar Municipality and disclosed that over 8,000 children under five and pregnant women are to benefit.

READ ALSO: Border Closure Not Meant To Punish Our Neighbours, Says Buhari

Dr Betta Edu maintained that the week-long exercise was to improve access to the basic health care services for all while reducing morbidity and mortality in mothers, pregnant women and children of age 0-5.

“The health week will feature routine immunisation against childhood killer diseases, administration of Vitamin A for children, deworming of children, screening for acute malnutrition in children with appropriate referrals, provisions of ante-natal care iron-folate for pregnant women, distribution of mosquito nets to pregnant and lactating women as well as health education on key health tips for household practices and HIV testing, amongst others”

 

Also Speaking, Dr Janet David Ekpenyong, Director-General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), urged women and guardians to make their wards available for immunization and other loads of packages.

The DG assured the community of immediate revitalization of the health centre to cater for the healthcare of the people in the community.

According to her, Governor Ben Ayade is very committed to drastically reduce maternal mortality and infancy through interventions such as the State health insurance scheme “Ayadecare”.

The Nasarawa Community in Bacoco, Calabar municipality who turned out in their numbers were overwhelmed with joy and thanked the Governor for his intervention, stating that they will patronize the health care facility close to them.

Ayade Signs N1.1trn Budget Of ‘Olimpotic Meristemasis’ For 2020

Easter: Ayade Calls For Peace, Prayers For Leaders
A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

 

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade has signed the sum of N1.1trillion “Budget of Olimpotic Merismasis” for the year 2020.

The governor while signing the budget at the executive chambers of the governor’s office in Calabar, the state capital, said it would help actualise the key projects of his administration.

He added that the budget is geared towards bringing to fruition, the signature projects of the administration, including the 270-kilometer superhighway connecting Cross River with Northern Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Asks Nigerians To Focus On Nation-Building, Not Buhari’s Successor

Also, 82 percent of the budget is for capital expenditure while 18 percent is for recurrent expenditure.

The governor during the signing also pointed out that, “At any point in time, a man’s ability is limited by his financial muscle his brain has failed. For us in Cross River, with the governor and his deputy as professors, it will be a thing of shame for us to budget based on our envelope size.”

Ayade, while enumerating the avalanche of industries he has established since assumption of office, assured that the 2020 budget will create jobs for residents in the state.

The Cross Rivers State governor since the inception of the office uses stylish names for budgets.

In 2018, the Budget was tagged Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation while in 2019, it was tagged “Budget of Quabalistic Densification.”

Cross River Govt Proposes N1.1 Trillion Budget For 2020

Easter: Ayade Calls For Peace, Prayers For Leaders

 

The Cross-River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has presented an appropriation bill of N1.1 trillion, for the 2020 fiscal year.

Tagged ‘Budget of Olipotic Meristemasis’ Governor Ayade disclosed that the budget has a capital expenditure of N911 billion representing 82.8 per cent and a recurrent expenditure of N188 billion, representing 17.2 per cent of the budget.

Speaking at the Chambers of the Cross-River State House of Assembly, Ayade described the budget as one that is anchored on a belief “in the spiritual force which is the third energy.”

While explaining that meristemasis is the active cell that stimulates growth in a young plant, which in this case, represents the state, he pointed out that, “the budget will catalyse into existence a great opportunity for everyone to put their hands and legs on the pedal and fill it off”.

He said the decision to allocate 82.8 per cent of the budget to capital expenditure, was indicative of our aggressive commitment that will continue to reduce recurrent expenditure and focus on capital expenditure.