SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR DOUYE DIRI, GOVERNOR OF BAYELSA STATE AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE 2020 APPROPRIATION BILL TO THE BAYELSA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON THE 21ST DAY OF APRIL 2020 (For the Records)

SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR DOUYE DIRI, GOVERNOR OF BAYELSA STATE AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE 2020 APPROPRIATION BILL TO THE BAYELSA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON THE 21ST DAY OF APRIL 2020

The Right Honourable Speaker,
Honourable Members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly,

I am privileged and honoured to address this august House of Assembly and the State at large on this auspicious occasion of presentation of my maiden Appropriation Bill christened, “Consolidation for Prosperity 2020”.

You are all familiar with the dramatic or, more accurately, miraculous turn of events that culminated in my taking the oath of office as governor of Bayelsa State on 14 February, 2020. My everlasting praise and thanks goes to God who made this possible.

The Corona Virus pandemic is set to leave the world, including Nigeria, with lower GDP per capita by the end of the year. Whatever its medical trajectory, the fear and anxiety it has generated is unusual. I know people are anxious about their health as well as the health of their loved ones, their jobs, their earnings, their finances and their businesses. As someone who can testify of the God of the miraculous. I want to say to all Bayelsans, “Fear Not”. We need to stay positive and believe that the COVID 19 outbreak will run its course as other pandemics have come and gone.

We have put palliatives in place including mobilising available public resources, in partnership with corporate bodies and well meaning individuals, to help the poor and vulnerable.

Expectedly, people want to know what is happening and what government is doing to fix it. This budget defines the structure for the economic activities that would be undertaken, in the relevant fiscal year, and affords an over-arching direction for government to provide solutions to challenges that confront us as a people. There is, thus, a clear need to consistently inform our people on activities being undertaken by the executive on their behalf. That is why this Budget Presentation exercise to parliament is so critical, and can also be accessed on our website.

POLICY THRUST OF OUR GOVERNMENT

Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, I stated while forwarding the 2020 to 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) documents to this House, that the overarching philosophy of my administration for the next four years is “CONSOLIDATION FOR PROSPERITY”. To actualize this lofty aspiration, Government shall embark on special programmes and projects targeted at creating wealth. We shall:

1. Encourage and mobilise our people to participate in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) and Agriculture. The state is naturally endowed with agricultural and aquatic resources which we shall harness and develop to provide food security at the basic level for our people.

2. Create opportunities that will attract the private sector towards industrialisation.

This Government shall also vigorously pursue activities that will strengthen:
a. Infrastructural Development
b. Housing and Urban Renewal
c. Environmental Protection
d. Women and Youth Development
e. Public Sector and Financial Management Reforms
f. Ethical Re-orientation and Cultural Revival
g. Human Capital Development

To actualise this goals we shall improve on the Security Architecture of the State to promote peace.

CURRENT ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the ravaging effect of COVID 19 and its disastrous impact on economies, both locally and internationally, has to be managed with prudence. Please let us all recall that based on the Federal Government’s benchmark for crude oil fixed at $55/barrel, with the effects of COVID 19 leading to a slump in the demand, the price of crude oil has plummeted to a net average amount of about $22 – $25/barrel. The above situation will definitely affect our expectations from Statutory Allocations from FAAC as revenue, adversely.

These difficult times require financial discipline on our part as a Government and a need for us to refocus by identifying alternative sources of income. The rightsizing of the number of Ministries from 32 to 21, amongst other reasons, was done to reduce the cost of running government.

We are taking proactive measures in the 2020 Appropriation bill to cushion the effect of the economic downturn in Bayelsa State. Our Government is engaging vigorously with the Federal Government , Central Bank of Nigeria and Multilateral Agencies like the World Bank to enable us drive this budget successfully.

As part of our efforts to reduce cost of governance and to enhance transparency in government, the Human Resources, Financial Reporting, Budgeting and Procurement components of the State Integrated Management Information System (SIFMIS) will be fully implemented this year.

In line with my vision of improving the welfare of our State Civil Servants, we will continue with the implementation of the Federal Government approved Minimum Wage. As you are aware, we have also commenced the payment of gratuity arrears. Government will continuously dialogue in matters that may concern the welfare of the workforce.

REVIEW OF 2019 BUDGET

Mr. Speaker, it is worthy of note that I assumed office when the 2019 Fiscal Year had already ended. In the preparation of this bill, we had to leverage on the achievements of the past government towards consolidating on them for the prosperity of our people.

The overall performance of the 2019 budget stood at 59.06%. Total Revenue was N188.121 Billion representing 62.74% of target revenue of N299.835 Billion. Capital Expenditure stood at N44.932 Billion representing 23.9% performance, while that of Recurrent Expenditure of N132.152 Billion came in at 76.1%.

2020 BUDGET SUMMARY

Mr. Speaker, may I commence the highlights of the 2020 Budget tagged “Budget of Consolidation for Prosperity”.

This Appropriation Bill was prepared using the 2020-2022 MTEF as its basic platform. However, current realities have been taken into consideration to derive the figures proposed.

The 2020 Budget is expected to be funded from the following projected revenue sources:
a. Statutory Allocation …………………………………. N 131.704bn
b. Value Added Tax (VAT)………………….………….. N 10.624bn
c. Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)……………..…. N 16.000bn
d. Capital Receipts……..…………………………………. N 44.177bn
e. Loans………………………..…………………………. N 39.682bn

Our Expenditure Profile for 2020 consists of:
a. Personnel Cost…………………………….…………… N51.646bn
b. Overhead Cost………………………………………… N 52.327bn
c. Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges (CRFC)………. N91.478bn
d. Capital Expenditure…………………………………… N46.736bn

The 2020 proposed Budget is N242.283 Billion, to be funded by a projected Total Revenue of N202.505 Billion, and a deficit amounting to N39.778 Billion. This budget is lower than the 2019 Budget by 19.4%.

KEY AREAS OF EMPHASIS

Permit me now to delve into Key sectors of the 2020 Budget.

PERSONNEL: Mr. Speaker, Bayelsa was among the first States in Nigeria, to implement payment of the Current Minimum Wage. This is in line with our vision to have a motivated workforce and with a view towards improving their general wellbeing.

As a State, we must improve on our data integrity so as to maintain the confidence of international partners. Civil Servants will, therefore, be paid through the SIFMIS, Oracle Application. This decision will, also, reduce fraud and ensure timely payment of salaries

Personnel cost for the 2020 Budget comes to N51.646 Billion amounting to 21.32% of the total budget. This percentage is 4.4% higher than the 2019 Budget which had a Personnel cost of N50.628 Billion amounting to 16.9% of its total Budget.

Whereas, sustaining the Wage bill might be challenging, working as a team, with financial prudence and reasonable judgement, we shall overcome .

AGRICULTURE: Mr. Speaker, we intend to focus on the Agricultural sector as a major means of wealth creation. Therefore, various agricultural projects shall be embarked upon with the aim of providing employment and achieving food security in the State. We are poised to quit being a net consumer of food items to becoming a producer and supplier State. Value Chain Transformation Programmes will be supported to achieve food security in the State. We will partner with private sector investors, research institutes, communities etc. in our pursuit of viable agric projects that would provide food for our people and also enhance the development of Agro-allied industries.

¢ We are already partnering with CBN and other agencies to increase the funding of various agricultural projects.

¢ We will put to optimal use the Aquaculture projects in Igbogene/Yenigue, Igeibiri, Angalabiri etc. In addition, this government shall create more outlets to harness our existing natural aquaculture endowments.

¢ Our state-of-the-art Starch Processing Plant at Ebedebiri, and our comparative advantage in cassava production, will be fully enhanced.

¢ We shall engage in cassava, rice, plantain, sugarcane farming etc.

The sum of N8 Billion is, therefore, proposed for this sector.

POWER AND WATER: We understand that our goal of an industrialized State cannot be achieved without the availability of basic infrastructure. We will therefore revive and upgrade our erstwhile electricity generating turbines. While we work towards achieving this long term goal, we would partner with private electricity generating companies to ensure the availability of electricity. Our existing State Water Board and distribution networks would be revived so that residents of Yenagoa, and its environs, can have access to potable water.

Accordingly, the sum of N800 Million is proposed for this sector.

WORKS & TRANSPORT: We will embark on aggressive construction of roads in the State. We are witnesses to the frequent traffic jams at the Tombia roundabout. However before we tackle this problem by constructing a Service Flyover at the Tombia Roundabout, alternate roads will be constructed to ameliorate the daily traffic related pains of our brothers and sisters.

KEY PROJECTS:
1. Work will continue on the on-going 3 Senatorial Roads projects.
2. We will embark on the completion of the AIT/Elebele/Igbogene
Road.

3. Our holistic road construction plan will ensure an improvement in the Yenagoa road network.

4. We shall construct rural roads in order to ease the burden of
transportation faced by our rural dwellers.

The sum of N8.6 Billion is allocated for this sector.

HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: ‘Housing for all’ is a focal policy trust of governments and International Agencies all over the world. Since government alone cannot guarantee the provision of houses for all its citizens, we will partner with housing and mortgage institutions to build and develop affordable houses for Bayelsans. Government will however ensure the completion of the existing housing estates.

It is worthy of note that the Onopa Bridge is over 90% completed. This government will, also, speed up the development of the New Yenagoa City.

Key projects in this sector include:
¢ Okaka Housing Estate.
¢ Civil Servants Housing Estate, Agbura
¢ Judges Housing Estate Opolo,
The sum of N640 Million is, consequently, allocated for this sector.

TRADE, INDUSTRY AND INVESTMENT: Our State is a virgin and profitable destination for investors. Our Government will therefore:

¢ Create a secure and conducive environment for existing and potential investors.
¢ Provide the enabling infrastructure that will attract investors.
¢ Train our youth to acquire vocational and entrepreneurial skill that
would make them productive and independent.
¢ Create Business Advisory Desk and Centre to provide support and
guidance to prospective young investors in areas of book keeping, trend and opportunities in the economy, etc.
¢ Complete the construction of the Okaka Market and Shopping Mall.
.
We shall focus on expanding our business and trade frontiers by seizing reasonable opportunities to continue the development of the Agge Seaport, Industrial Park among others.

The sum of N430.938 Million is allocated to this sector.

EDUCATION: Mr. Speaker, There has been a remarkable improvement in the Education Sector by the previous administration. Our Government will, therefore, consolidate on existing infrastructure and programmes to push Education to greater heights. Training and manpower development of staff in this sector will be prioritized.

The Education Development Trust Fund and other organs in the Educational sector shall be strengthened for optimum performance.

Accordingly, the sum of N2.1 Billion is allocated to this sector.
HEALTH: The health sector all over the world, has been pushed to its brink due to the COVID 19 pandemic. While we don’t pray for a spread of this pandemic to our State, this is a timely warning. It highlights the need to improve our existing Health infrastructure in the event of off-scale emergencies.

We shall sustain the steps already taken to ensure that our state remain COVID 19 free.

Accordingly, the sum of N1.75 Billion is allocated to this sector.

SPORTS: Our State has produced some of the best sportsmen globally. These men and women have been a source of motivation for upcoming athletes. You are all aware that I was priviledged to serve as the Commissioner for Sports in this State , where by the grace of God we had our best outing at the National Sports Festival and were able to upgrade our sports clubs. Sport is, therefore, at the heart of this administration. Our vision is to promote participation of Bayelsans in notable sporting activities especially in areas where we have comparative advantage. We shall engage relevant government institutions, as well as, private sector investors in the overall development of our State sporting infrastructure.
This sector is allocated the sum of N580 Million.

SECURITY: Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me that the progress and development of Bayelsa State is hinged on the security of lives, property and investments. Security is therefore deemed as a focal agenda for this Administration. Government will, upgrade the special security outfit, Doo-Akpo, and ensure a synergy between security outfits in the State. Necessary items shall be provided to support security agencies in the battle to curb criminality in the State.

The already established Command and Control Security Centre shall be properly harnessed to boost our security.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, the challenges that lie ahead of us this year dictate that we should all work together as we seek to create an enduring economy for the prosperity of our State. Posterity will remain our judge in evaluating our performance as we thrive to keep our promises. We are fully committed to ensuring that the fruits of this Miracle Government impact on all sectors of our economy.

It is therefore, my honour, now, to lay before you the 2020 Appropriation Bill with a total of N242.283 Billion for your consideration and expeditious passage .

May God Prosper and Bless Bayelsa State.

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