Yenagoaâ€”Bayelsa State Non-Governmental Organizations Forum, BANGOF, a coalition of over 30 NGOs, has called on Governor Timipre Sylvaâ€™s administration to diligently implement the stateâ€™s 2010 budget of N187.5billion already signed into law.
BANGOF challenged the state government to fulfill its promise of making the budget document and other financial books, including those of local government councils, accessible to the people.
In a seven-point communiquÃ© signed by its Chairman, Philip Slaboh, Secretary, Alagoa Morris and the Public Relations Officer, Eunice Akene, after its general meeting in Yenagoa, the coalition pointed out that the capital expenditure of N68.1billion (36.30 percent) as against N119.4billion (63.70 percent) for recurrent expenditure for this fiscal year was too lean to fast-track infrastructure development in the state in need of development.
The coalition also urged the state government to back its preaching of transparency and accountability by publishing its allocations and receipts and those of the local government councils, at least monthly, to end speculations in certain quarters and bring about good governance in the state.
It stated:Â â€œIt is about a year after the inauguration of Bayelsa Expenditure and Income Transparency Initiative, BEITI. In accordance with transparency and accountability, the state government should ensure that BEITI publishes its first report on the state.”
â€œBANGOF implores the state government, i.e. executive and legislative arms, to pass into lawÂ Bayelsa Expenditure and Income Transparency Initiative (BEITI) bill with a functional secretariat and take off funding.
â€œThis will further show the commitment of the state government pronouncement of transparency and accountability (BEITI) as the state in recent times has been put in a dark spot on this issue owing to the EFCC saga in Bayelsa State.
â€œThe forum also encourages the state government to properly implement the increased budget of N178.52 billion as initially presented to the House to N187.5 billion with a difference of N8.98billion.
It notes the large allocation of recurrent expenditure, which is N119.4 billion (63.70%) as against the capital expenditure of N68.1 billion (36.30), which may not be enough to create impact in infrastructure development in the state to really create the desired budget of impact for democracy dividend.