The Bayelsa State Government has approved the immediate release of N2 billion, as its counterpart funds to the office of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
The approval, which was part of decisions reached at the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, provided N1 billion for each of the two agencies to improve community development and basic education.
Presiding over the meeting, Governor Seriake Dickson explained that, the approval was made, as part of his administration’s resolve to provide basic social amenities to the people, particularly in the rural areas, in spite of the financial constraints.
The Governor, who reassured Bayelsans of his commitment to the development of the state, described as unfounded, rumours making the rounds that, the state government had received the second tranche of the London/Paris Club refunds.
While making reference to media reports on salary arrears owed local government workers, he explained that, the state government was not responsible for the payment of council staff, as the third tier of government enjoys financial autonomy in Bayelsa.
His words: “I have made a promise to the workers that when we do receive the subsequent payments of the Paris Club refund, we will keep to our promise and we continue to be transparent about it and see what we can do in the area of salary arrears as much as we can take. But the solution is not blackmail, propaganda and not to incite the unsuspecting workers who may not have the full details of the refunds.”
Governor Dickson, however, assured workers of the state that, the government would handle the payment of backlog of salaries as much as it could, whenever it receives the second tranche of the Paris Club refund.
He, therefore, called on the people of the state not to be swayed by the propaganda and blackmail orchestrated by political opponents to discredit his administration, but show more understanding for the common good of the state.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite said, council expressed commitment to completing all on-going projects as most of them had reached 90% completion.
Hon. Obuebite also noted that, council ordered the cessation of dredging activities around the Ox Bow Lake Resort, as their operations are inimical to the natural landscape of the area.
The Information Commissioner was quoted as saying that, “Also Council discussed the issue of dredging activities around the Ox Bow Lake. We have just built and completed the Ox Bow Lake Pavilion and in the next few weeks ahead, fencing will commence in order to provide security for that massive investment to boost tourism potential of the state.
“So government has decided that all owners of dredgers within that vicinity should immediately move out of that area so that we will be able to preserve what we have done and this directive is a follow up to a formal notice that was extended through the Ministry of Environment to all the dredgers.
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