Dickson Signs 2014 Appropriation Bill Of N332bn Into Law, Calls For Expansion Of State's Revenue Base

Source: pointblanknews.com

The Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson on Thursday in Yenagoa signed the State 2014 Appropriation bill of N332 billion into law and called for the expansion of the revenue base, noting the recent economic downturn which has led to sharp reduction in the State's monthly allocation from the Federation Account was worrisome.

Speaking at the occasion, which had in attendance the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson, top Government functionaries and host of others, Hon. Dickson expressed concern over the decline in the monthly allocation from the Federation Account.

He disclosed that the allocation in the past months has nosedived by about N5 billion, stating that if necessary economic measures are not put in place, the situation will have serious impact on the economy of the State.

Hon. Dickson said it was in anticipation of this grim impending economic downturn, that his administration is taking steps to create alternative sources of income flow to boost the revenue profile of the Government.

To this end, Governor Dickson directed members of his economic team to expeditiously work out modalities to cut down on the State wage bills such as remunerations approved for parastatals and travel allowances for Government functionaries including the Governor.

According to him, just like other states, “we are also experiencing a terrible decline in our inflows. This is why we have always exercised maximum prudence particularly in approvals that are related to recurrent expenditure.

“I am directing the economic team to implement an appropriate reduction of all recurrent approvals beginning with Government House expenditures. We had reduced it significantly before, but in the light of the new realities, I'm giving this directive that we need to review most of our expenditure patterns. For example, issues that have to do with travels and allowances of members of the Executive Council.

The Commissioner for Finance and his team should also look at the remunerations that we have approved for the part-time appointees of Government. This should be done in such a way that we would be able to cope with the stress that has been induced by the reductions in our inflows.

While thanking the leadership and members of the State House of Assembly for the speedy passage of the bill, the Governor called on the people of the State to continually show understanding and cooperation by living up to their civic obligations.

“ Starting things like this from a culture where we don't pay tax and contribute to development, but only expect and abuse, I know the transition could be difficult painful and even be misunderstood. But, as leader of this Government I will be failing in my duty, if I don't point out the dangers. It is a different thing if we don't understand, but I have a duty to explain and let it be said when that day comes that, there was a Governor who saw that possibility and worked hard to avert it.

“Already it is happening for reasons that are not under our control even with the crude sale and the price of oil that is not affected. From when I started till now, our monthly revenue has dropped by over N5 billion. So, if we are not careful to build alternative revenue sources, we will get to a situation where the Federal revenue will not be enough to enable us meet our minimum obligation as a State, particularly bearing in mind the very high wage bill that is higher than that of any other state in this Country”

Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Benson while presenting the bill for assent, expressed confidence in the ability of the Governor to implement the budget to the benefit of Bayelsans, highlighting the present administration's achievements in the areas of infrastructural development and maintenance of peace and security.

He explained that the budget as passed consist of a total recurrent expenditure of N178.8bn and Capital expenditure of N154bn bringing the overall total to N332.8bn.

Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State