Posted by News Express | 1 June 2016 | 2,328 times
The Bayelsa State Government on Wednesday in Yenagoa said that its take home pay from federation account could no longer take it home because of the fall in oil revenue.
The government of Henry Seriake Dickson specifically stressed that what it receives at present from the federation account was grossly inadequate to pay salaries, pensions, carry out projects and attend to other overhead needs, adding that it could no longer do so much as witnessed in the first tenure due to paucity of funds.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the situation was worsened by the debt burden inherited from the previous administration.
This, he said, had necessitated a monthly deduction of huge sums of money from its allocation at source to service debts.
According to him, from inception, the state was conscious of saving for the rainy day, adding that government’s policy of compulsorily saving N1 billion monthly from the state allocation assisted the government to stay afloat even when other states had long been affected by the bug of the on-going economic downturn.
Iworiso-Markson said: “Besides, the government has since made the monthly transparency briefing which tells the public the state of its finance without hiding anything a mark of sincere leadership to serve the common good. This was also meant to hedge against further sliding down in corruption as witnessed in the past government.
“The previous government of Timipre Sylva left a debt of about N342 billion accumulated from different sources especially those obtained through bonds. But regrettably, they were not used for any development purposes except that they were shared among a few members of his administration.
“However, government has repaid above N200 billion of the inherited loans but the pangs of servicing it remained a pain in the neck of the government as the monthly deductions from the state allocation had impaired its budgetary allocations to other sectors of the state economy requiring attention.
“The consequence of the recent slide in oil sales and revenue as well as the resurgence in militancy in the Niger Delta and other crises had impacted very negatively on government finances.
“Things have plummeted and the dynamics have changed. Drop in oil prices, resurgence of militant activities and other crises have reduced to a miserable level the income of the government from the Federation Account.”
Despite the prevailing circumstances, the government said it was still meeting its financial obligations such as payment of salaries and pension and carrying out infrastructure development, among others.
The statement stated that there is no part of the state that is not enjoying democracy dividend as the government had prudently used state resources to spread development across the state.
“It is on record that there is hardly any community in Bayelsa that has not experienced the dividends of democracy. This much was evident in the way and manner the governor and his team were received during the campaigns for the 2015 gubernatorial election which he won with a landslide,” it said.
Giving a breakdown of the various amounts deducted at source as loan repayment obligations and other local commitments by FAAC since January this year, the government stressed that the sum of N3,045,224,679,70 was deducted in January; N3,048,487,026,38 in February, while in March the sum of N3,334,396,595,02 was deducted.
The statement said: “In April, the sum of two billion, four hundred and thirty four million, five thousand, nine hundred and forty seven naira, sixty five kobo (N2,434,005,947,65) was deducted and then in the month of May, the statement further noted, the sum of two billion, four hundred and fifty six million, six hundred and forty one thousand, eight hundred and eleven naira, sixty three kobo (N2,456,641,811,63) was deducted from FAAC.
“What it means is that the government has to do a lot of readjustments. First was to embark on an aggressive drive to shore up its internal revenue, secondly, to reduce the amount spent on running the government, thirdly, to block waste in government finances and to reduce the number of ghost workers through a clean verification exercise.
“A crack team of very competent people were given the responsibility to handle each of them and gradually the positive result is coming in. It is the hope of the government that things will surely get better.
“With the forgoing, Bayelsans and those with different vested interest in the state should applaud the government for the bold initiatives that it has put in place to secure the future of the state rather than such unmerited criticisms. Also questions should be asked about those who mismanaged the commonwealth of the state. They certainly have no moral rectitude to speak now about governance.”
•Photo shows Governor Dickson.
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