By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State government yesterday disclosed that it had received N14.5 billion excess deductions refund from the federal government initially meant for the repayment of the Paris and London Club debts.
Also, the government presented a N221 billion 2017 appropriation bill before the State House of Assembly in Yenagoa.
Governor Seriake Dickson said the disclosure was to show accountability and to “dispel rumours, half-truths and outright falsehood that is usually dished out to confuse and incite the unsuspecting public”.
“The state government has received the sum of fourteen billion five hundred million naira (#14,500,000,000.00) only in respect of excess deduction from the state allocation by the federal government for the repayment of Paris and London club debt.
“In accordance with the agreement reached for receipt of this refund, we have directed accordingly that 50% of the money received be used to pay pensions and full salaries for the month of October and November 2016 as soon as possible”, the government said.
Meanwhile, the governor yesterday presented the 2017 fiscal year budget estimate of N221 billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration and passage, as against the N191.5 billion of the previous year.
Presenting the appropriation bill christened, “Budget of Repositioning For Consolidation,” Governor Dickson said the estimate comprises a recurrent expenditure of N136.9 billion, while capital expenditure is N84.3 billion.
According to the Governor, the budget is expected to be funded, through statutory allocation estimated at N191 billion, Value Added Tax N6.9 billion, internally generated revenue of N15 billion and capital receipts of N8.07 billion.
On sectoral allocations, Governor Dickson announced that N26.9 billion was for the Ministry of works and Infrastructure, which got the lion share, followed by Education with N13.5 billion, health N5.9 billion, while Agriculture and Natural Resources got N4.024 billion.
Power Ministry was allocated N3.4 billion, Budget and Economic Planning N3.3 billion, Housing and Urban Development N3billion, Sports Development N2.5 billion, while Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs was earmarked N2.3 billion.
Dickson, who said the budget was intended to complete all the on-going projects, allocated N2 billion to the Ministry of Lands and Survey, Transport N1.9, Finance N1.7 billion, Trade, Industry and Investment N0.739 billion, Information N0.631 billion and Water Resources N0.500 billion.
He noted that the budget was targeted at achieving increased IGR, through taxation, re-organisation of the public service, commercialisation of the government-owned agencies and funding of tertiary institutions.
Shedding more light on the critical components of the 2017 budget, Dickson noted that though the estimate was higher than that of the previous year, the government would adopt various methodologies to shore up its revenue base, through the collection of appropriate levies such as personal income, property and consumption taxes.
As part of efforts to ensure effective implementation of the budget, he said mechanisms were being re-designed to block all leakages and wastages by operating a single account, where all state revenues would be channeled to.
On rural development, he noted that, the government would commit part of the budget to address critical needs of the rural areas, pointing out that every ward would benefit, at least a health centre, in the coming year.