Governor Seriake Dickson
A non-governmental organisation, the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (CENTRE LSD) has asked the Bayelsa State Government to limit its rising recurrent expenditure, saying the development is not good for the state’s economy.
The Executive Director of the group, Otive Igbuzor, who addressed journalists in Yenagoa, yesterday on the implementation of the state’s 2012 budget, emphasised that the level of recurrent expenditure including overhead cost in relation to personnel cost was counter-productive to the development of the state.
Igbuzor, who was represented by the Programme Officer, Mr. Monday Osasah, said: “Recurrent expenditure in the state ranges from 40 percent to 49 percent of the total budget expenditure.”
“A state with grossly inadequate social amenities and a high level of poverty evidenced by poor health and high child mortality rate including high levels of unemployment, particularly among youths, who have contributed to social unrest, agitations and conflicts, should have more of the budget directed to capital projects,” he said.
He expressed dismay that in the 2012 budget, the issue of HIV/AIDS was not mentioned under allocations to the health sector despite the reported rise in prevalence rate from 3.4 per cent to 9.9 per cent in the state, stressing that it should be accorded priority in the 2013 budget.
Igbuzor, however, commended Governor Seriake Dickson for declaring a state of emergency in the education sector, after the alarming 1:60 teacher-pupil ratio it recorded in the out-going year.
The group also called on the state government to partner civil society organisations and make the budget process open for citizens’ participation as well as undertake needs assessment that would feed into both local council and state budgets.