By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”Special Adviser to Bayelsa State governor on Mobilisation and Niger Delta Matters, Mr. Jude Tabai, has expressed optimism that the state economy would pick up this year following the end of militancy in the troubled Niger Delta.
In an interview with newsmen in Yenagoa, Tabai said the outlook for 2010 was bright for the state, given the prevailing peace and increase in oil production.
â€œThis is a state where we all know we were producing about 500,000 barrels of oil per day.
â€œFrom 500,000 barrels per day, this militant business came on board, they destroyed all the good things we had, they destroyed all the pipelines. This led us to dropping from 500,000 barrels to 50,000 barrels,â€ he said.
Adding â€œThese are the problems that led us to take a loan.â€
He further explained that with the end of militancy, oil out put had stabilised at about 150,000 barrels from Bayelsa State and so had improved the finances of the state.
According to him, the prevailing peace would be sustained because of its implications for the economic development of the state.
He said the government would continue to support the federal government amnesty programme to ensure that there was no disruption or destruction to oil installations stressing that ex_militant commanders were being rehabilitated because it was better to do so in the interest of the general good.
â€œThe advantages of peace out weigh whatever treatment we give ex_militants. Whatever we need to do to secure this peace I donâ€™t think is a wasted effort because the peace is what will raise the stateâ€™s finances which will enable all Bayelsans to the impact of good governance. What ever we think we can do to sustain that peace for now, we will do as a way of crisis management,â€ he said.
Defending the state government decision to raise a further N50billion loan from the capital market he said government had paid over 90 per cent of its debts to commercial banks.
â€œThe loans we are talking about, running to about N60billion, is as good as settled and this is the first time something like this is happening in this country,â€ Tabai added.
He said it was the first time sitting governor would take a loan and ensure it was paid back during his tenure and not make it a burden for incoming administrations to grapple with.
â€œThis is the first time the record has been broken where a sitting governor came in secured a loan and in less than two years, it as good as completed the payment of the loan despite the economic melt down,â€ he said.