The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri last Wednesday, presented a N310.7 billion budget estimate for 2022 to Bayelsa House of Assembly in Yenegoa.
The 2022 appropriation bill christened “Budget of Sustainable Growth’’ is to be funded partly from borrowing and grants from development partners, according to the governor.
During the presentation, Diri said the administration was formulating a 30-year development plan for the state.
He said when the budget becomes law, the government would build critical infrastructures, sustain urban renewal and development, create wealth and job opportunities, build human capital and strengthen agriculture.
“We intend to explore other sources of funding apart from our projected revenue and expected federal allocation.
“We intend also to borrow N45.8 billion to fund 13 per cent of the total budget estimate.
“The expected aid and grants from our development partners is estimated at N24.7 billion, which is approximately eight per cent of the total budget estimate.
“The 2021 “Budget of Growth’’ was based on a benchmark oil price of 38 dollars per barrel of oil and production capacity of 1.8 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of 379 Naira to the dollar.
“Notwithstanding shortfall in our expected revenue inflow and the rise in our internal expenditures, we gave approval to augment payment of new minimum wage to local government workers, primary school teachers and cleared minimum wage arrears.
“The 2021 Budget was framed to give the state a positive outlook and drive it to a genuine path of prosperity after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
“More than 60 per cent of the capital expenditure was allocated to sectors that drive investments, economic growth, improved infrastructure, youth and women empowerment.
“This was achieved through support to trade, entrepreneurial and agricultural activities and sustainable policy formulation and implementation of ICT.
“The education sector is enjoying robust funding, infrastructure upgrade and improved policy implementation.
“We have put machinery in place to establish vocational schools and technical skills training centres to aid the training of our youths and women in skill sets that are of high demand to make them employable,’’ he said.
According to the governor, the 2022 budget breakdown shows capital expenditure of N110.980 billion, Education – N4 billion, Agriculture – N12 billion and Works – N51 billion, among others.
Bayelsa Deputy Gov Advises Communities On Resolution Of Land Disputes
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the advice at a meeting with community leaders from Ondewari and Korokorosei in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, stressed the need for the people of both communities to maintain the peace and abide by existing court judgements over disputed land property in the area, pointing out that the era of rule by might or physical strength has since been taken over by that of rule of law and therefore, cautioned the people to be circumspect in all their dealings to avoid the wrath of the law.
The Deputy Governor maintained that since judgement had been given over the land in dispute, any party that was not satisfied with the judgement should go for appeal and not seek self-help.
Throwing light on the position of government, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said the present administration would not take it lightly with any community that takes up arms against another in the state for any reason.
On the deployment of mobile policemen to Ondewari and Korokorosei, the Bayelsa number two man explained that the security agencies were sent to forestall breakdown of law and order in the area, following the court judgement.
He urged the Commissioner of Police, Mr Benjamin Okolo, to ensure the continued operations of police personnel in the two communities until normalcy was fully restored.
Also speaking, the Member representing Southern Ijaw Constituency 4 in the state House of Assembly, Hon. MacDonald Igbadiwe, stressed that Ondewari and Korokorosei were brothers and had maintained friendly relationship over the years.
Igbadiwe who thanked the present administration for its genuine concern to foster peace and development in the state, called on the two communities to embrace and live in peace as members of the Olodiama clan.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Southern Ijaw LGA, Chief Kia Ebidoughebofa Nigeria, highlighted the dire consequences of violence, stressing that “There is no positive reward for unnecessary violence and bloodshed.”
The meeting was attended by the paramount rulers, Community Development Committee, CDC chairmen, youth and women leaders of the two communities.
In a related development, the State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has spelt it out clearly that no individual or group would be allowed to dethrone any recognized traditional ruler without the approval of government.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo stated this during a reconciliatory meeting with stakeholders of Anyama-Ebeni Community in Sagbama LGA, including the Deputy Leader of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Benard Kenebai, in Government House,Yenagoa.
Stressing the need for people not to take the laws into their hands, the Deputy Governor ordered a factional leader and CDC Chairman of the community to apologise to the Paramount Ruler of Anyama-Ebeni for manhandling and attempting to dethrone the Amananaowei.
C’River Disabilities Commission Bill Passes Second Reading
The commission bill seeks to safeguard people with disabilities against all forms of discrimination, while providing them with equal opportunities in all aspects of human endeavour.
Explaining the context and objectives of the bill, the sponsor, Mrs Regina Anyogo, representing Yala 1, said, “the Bill will promote multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaborations, that benefit persons with disabilities and encourage networking among the civil society organisations.
“The Bill will also implement and promote policies that encourage persons with disabilities to participate in the social, economic and political life of the society,” she said.
NDDC Operating Against The Law, States Losing – Okowa
The governor frowned at the unacceptable situation and urged the federal government to constitute a substantive board for the commission without further delay.
Okowa, who stated this at a media interaction in Asaba, said the slow pace of the presidency to constitute the NDDC board was detrimental to the development of the South-South region.
Recalling that the governors of the NDDC states have vehemently made their position known, during the intervening period that the commission has been without a board, he said: “Whatever situation the NDDC is operating with now is unknown to the law of this country.
“We have made our position clear as South-South governors. We have spoken about how we feel and it is very unfortunate that where we are at the moment, it ought not to be so. We have not had a proper board for over two years now and that is not right.
“The more important thing is that states are now being deprived of opportunity of having their representative at the board because, behind the managing director and the executive, you have state representatives who are able to understand that the budget of the NDDC is run in the way it ought to be run, with what is due to each state, getting to them.
“That has not been the sit-uation for quite some time. That is why we have always complained. We were told by the presidency that as soon as the forensic report was submitted, the board will be inaugurated.”
Okowa decried that the NDDC has been regulated on irregularities, lamenting that states have been deprived of their statutory representation due to the inability of the presidency to constitute a board to run the affairs of the commission.
On Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village, he said the project would be ready for inauguration in February, 2022, adding that the delivery timeline for the project was shifted from December 2021 to February 2022 because of fluctuations in exchange rate.
He said many of the equipment required for the leisure park and film village were coming from overseas, and fluctuations in foreign exchange rate have obviously delayed the delivery of the job.
He disclosed that his administration was still pushing hard on the contractor to ensure speedy completion of the job, and affirmed that there was a firm understanding that the contractor should be able to deliver the project by February 2022.
The governor expressed appreciation to the media for being good partners to his administration and said “we have continued to stay on course in our promises to deltans.
“We wish that we would have moved a little faster than we are doing at the moment but unfortunately, our resources are dwindling more and more every day.
“However, we have continued to ensure that the projects we already have ongoing, would be delivered.
“One of the major projects is the Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village. Unfortunately, there is a shift on the date of delivery”.
Continuing, he said work on sectors C1 and C2 of Asaba/Ughelli road dualisation was still on course, and pointed out that the contracting firm, CCECC Nigeria Ltd., had informed him that Asaba to Ogwashi-Uku stretch of the road would be delivered in April, 2022.
“From the latest report that l had from the contracting firm, CCECC Nigeria Ltd., the one running from Asaba to Ogwashi-Uku will be delivered by the end April 2022 in full (both lanes) while the other sector running from Ogwashi-Uku to Ossissa will be delivered at the later part of 2022 or early part of 2023.
“Work is still ongoing in sector A from Ughelli to Ozoro and l believe too that the contractor will finish that job in the early part of 2023”, he added.
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