By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State Government has floated a N10 billion Entrepreneur Development Fund, EDF, to empower persons that may voluntarily leave the state civil service following its re-organization.
This came as the governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, declared a receipt of N9.7 billion from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, for the month of December 2016, ordering full payment of January salaries with effect from yesterday.
The governor also approved N10 billion for the upgrading of facilities in all its tertiary institutions as well as setting up a special Education Safety Corps, ESC, to ensure the safety of its schools.
Governor Dickson disclosed this at a meeting in Yenagoa to intimate stakeholders with the financial position of the state government and how to chart a way forward in view of the prevailing economic situation.
While reiterating the commitment of the government to reposition the state’s public service, he called for stakeholders’ support in the implementation of the various reforms of the government.
He described as unacceptable, the age long sharp practices in the civil service, noting that the payment of over N4 billion monthly wage bill could no longer be sustained.
According to him, this had impacted negatively on the developmental agenda of the government.
Some of the reforms as highlighted by the governor and endorsed by the stakeholders in attendance included approval of N200 million monthly subventions to the state-owned Niger Delta University.
Speaking on the finances which the state received from the Federation Account, the governor, in his breakdown, disclosed that the state got N1.16 billion as statutory allocation, 13% derivation amounted to N3.2 billion, Value Added Tax, N699 million and Petroleum Profit Tax, N2.4 billion.
Others included budget supports to state, N1.111 billion, foreign exchange differential, N1.2 billion and refunds on over payment, N57.5 million.
The governor disclosed that out of this amount, N2.3 billion was deducted at source by FAAC which included bond obligation, foreign loans, commercial agriculture credit scheme 1 and 11 and salary bailout to state.
According to him, the government is servicing the loan obtained for the construction of the multi-billion naira cargo airport, which, according to him, would be of immense benefit to the economic growth of the state.
He added that the efforts of the government at addressing the issue of bloated wage bill had begun to yield dividends, as it had recorded a reduction of over N1 billion.