By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA— GOVERNOR Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has signed The 2017 Appropriation budget of N243.2 billion and the Educational Development Trust Fund Amendment bills into law. •Gov Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa Assenting to the two billls, Dickson said in a statement in Yenagoa, that the budget, which is christened, “Budget of repositioning for Consolidation,” is aimed at completing various on-going projects in the state. He noted that the government appropriated N111 billion for capital projects alone.
The governor 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. Dickson, who explained that recurrent expenditures such as salaries, pensions, gratuities and overhead would gulp the remaining balance of the budget estimate, assured that the government will abide strictly to the budget. Commending workers in the state for their understanding and patience, he said that the government was working out modalities on the payment of the back log of salary arrears owed workers, last year.
On the Educational Development Trust Fund, the governor explained that, 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 is 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 State House of Assembly, Mr. Benson Konbowei, said that out of the N243.2 bn, total personnel expenditure, including gratuities and pensions came up to N52.5 bn. He also noted that, consolidated revenue funds stood at N14 million, bringing the total to N66.7 billion. Konbowei announced N40.8 bn as overhead costs, while N24 bn will be spent as Cash on Transfer, COT, Value Added Tax, VAT deductions and other financial consultancy services. He said N88.1bn will be expended for capital expenditure while other aspects of capital project funds is N23 bn, bringing the total to over N111bn.