Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has signed the 2017 Appropriation Budget of N243.2 billion and the Educational Development Trust Fund Amendment bills into law.
It will be recalled that the governor proposed an educational trust fund bill to help the less privileged in the state acquire education. Assenting to the bills at the Government House, Yenagoa, the governor said the budget, christened “Budget of Repositioning for Consolidation,” was aimed at completing various ongoing projects in the state.
Dickson, who noted that the government appropriated N111 billion for capital projects alone, called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure strict implementation of the budget and fast track the processes of award of contracts, as his administration was committed to completing most of the projects and programmes this year.
The governor, who explained that recurrent expenditure such as salaries, pensions, gratuities and overhead, would gulp the remaining balance of the budget estimate, assured the people that the government would conform strictly to the budget.
While commending workers in the state for their understanding and patience, he said the government was working out modalities on the payment of the backlog of salary arrears owed workers last year.
On the Educational Development Trust Fund, the governor said certain aspects of the law needed to be amended to include elevation of the qualification of the secretary of the board to the level of a director in the public service.
According to him, the secretary was expected to provide international liaison with the board as well as incorporate representatives of organised labour on the board.
Presenting the bills, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Benson Konbowei, said out of the N243.2 billion total personnel expenditure, including gratuities and pensions, came up to N52.5 billion. He also noted that consolidated revenue funds stood at N14 million, bringing the total to N66.7 billion.