Cross River State Government has started reordering its priorities to meet up with aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic by taking N4.5 billion from the Local Council purse to invest in the aviation industry.
The State Government had in a letter with reference No. MLGA/e-P090/2020 and signed by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Stella Odey; Permanent Secretary, James Odok; Director of Accounts, Ironbar Bassey and another Director of Accounts, Mrs. Paulina Odey, directed First Bank to “transfer N4.5 billion only from the Cross River State Local Government Salary Account to the Local Governments’ capital project accounts indicated in the schedule,” meaning that each of the council’s accounts should be credited with N250 million totalling N4.5 billion for the Cally Airline and Airport project which is located in Obudu.
Justifying why the State is investing in the aviation industry in this period of the pandemic, the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong (Jnr), at a briefing with some newsmen yesterday said: “The State sees an end to the virus, and so, it is important for us to realise that it is in the time of crisis and recession that heroes are born. When you have challenges, those companies founded during that period are those that grow up to dominate the world. The airline industry is under problems right now and there will never be a cheaper time to buy a plane than now. All the airlines are stranded and are on tarmac.
“Soon, we are going to witness these dark days of zero allocation from crude oil. We earn billions of dollars from crude but there is going to be zero now.”
In another development, two regulatory bodies, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have given approval to Cross River State garment factory to continue production of nose-masks.