.. highlights education, health, agriculture as priority areas
By Emem Idio, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has expressed the resolve of his administration to embrace the bottom-up budgeting process in the preparation of the 2021 state budget.
The governor who decried that the top-bottom budgeting approach used over the years has only resulted in the proliferation of misplaced projects, misallocation of projects, and sometimes non-untilization and duplication of projects, explained that the bottom-top budgeting process will help to eliminate all that.
Governor Diri, who stated this yesterday in Yenagoa during a one day stakeholders interactive session for the preparation of the 2021 state budget, while stressing the importance of citizens participation in the budgeting processes cannot be overemphasized, pointed out that the meeting was in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Law 2009 as amended.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor highlighted education, health, and agriculture as the core priority areas of the state next year’s budget.
He said: “What we are doing today is in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Law 2009 as amended which states that government shall direct citizens participation conference to be convened and caused the action of the said conference together with the views on expressed to be published.
“We are here not only to fulfill a necessary obligation of the prosperity government but also to fulfill a modern provision because over the years we have always done the top-bottom budgeting and not the bottom-top budgeting which has always make us to misplaced projects, misallocate projects and also to some extent undertake projects that are not utilized. There is also duplication of projects, therefore this budget process will help us eliminate all that. We are here to plan so that we don’t fail.
“We will prioritize education because an uneducated mind is a dangerous mind. Over 192 COVID-19 safety kits have been distributed to our public schools for the purpose of getting them to reopen while 300 private schools have also been given 300 COVID-19 safety kits.
“In the area of health, we are going to improve the earlier laid foundation in the health system, the general hospitals in the eight local government areas will be equipped and made to become functional within the next one year. As you are aware, seventy percent of our people work and live in rural areas therefore primary health care will be a cornerstone of this administration to make sure that we meet the health needs of our citizens.
“In the area of agriculture, we have already started the process. There will be the emphasis of fish, rice cassava, and plantain production, these are areas we have a comparative advantage. The commissioner of Agriculture has been put on notice to do all he can to ensure that we change our focus to make Niger Delta a popular in agriculture. For me, crude oil has always made the Niger Delta people notorious and so crime rate has increased as a result of crude oil that is found in our land.”
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Akpoebide Alamieyeseigha said the objectives of the meeting was to make the 2021 budget accessible to all stakeholders so that they can understand and make inputs, identify the core areas of interest to the people, improve service delivery and guide the new budget implementation process.