Posted by News Express | 27 November 2020 | 849 times
Mr. Speaker, in accordance with time-honoured custom and in keeping with the requirements under extant laws, it is my duty and privilege to respectfully present the Budgetary Estimate and Economic Policies of the Government of Bayelsa State for the year 2021 to these hallowed Chambers.
The backdrop to the Consolidation for Prosperity Budget 2020, including its subsequent review, had some fundamental assumptions and forecasts which unfortunately did not fully materialize. Notwithstanding our robust efforts, significant issues including the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant negative impact on projected revenues, unbalanced the financial situation and thwarted our delivery on the anticipated outcomes. We hope that the goals and objectives outlined in this Budget of Growth 2021, will enable these issues to be addressed as part of the progression in our quest for prosperity for the good people of Bayelsa state.
Mr. Speaker will recall that before we could settle down into the business of governance, the whole world was plunged into chaos by the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The state Civil Service had to operate at half capacity in conformity to Covid-19 safety protocols, meaning that governance was effectively shut down. All schools were also closed. We instituted lockdowns and imposed curfews throughout the state. Interstate travels were banned and banking operations were subjected to restrictions. Again, just as we were slowly easing back to some form of normalcy, seasonal floods swept across the state, submerging communities and overwhelming our social infrastructure. Our schools were once again constrained to close down to protect our children. We also had to deal with the End SARS protests, which resulted in mayhem in other states. In addition to all that, the government was distracted by a litany of frolicsome court cases. Not many people will remember the year 2020 with fondness.
The Budget of Growth 2021, is so named because even though we go into 2021, conscious of the fact that this year 2020 has been a year of significant losses and setbacks, cutting across all facets of society, we are still poised to realize great things with the well-conceived forecasts in this budget proposal.
With this synchronized disorder, most of our budgetary projections could not be met. Our economic and social intervention forecasts were adversely impacted. In many ways, 2020 will almost certainly be reckoned as an "annus horribilis," a Latin phrase meaning horrible year. But even an annus horribilis can produce a platform to inspire hope for greater days and we choose to see it as our year of strategic planning, innovation, and thanksgiving. We know that every setback is a setup for a comeback.
We are thankful that despite these myriads of difficulties, Bayelsa remained one of the states with the least crime rates in the country; we recorded one of the lowest incidents of coronavirus infections and related deaths; we were able to support the most vulnerable during the covid lockdown with palliatives; similarly, persons internally displaced due to flooding have continued to receive provisions. Although this has taken a heavy toll on our resources and finances, we are happy and proud that in the time of adversity we could stand by the most vulnerable of our people. Similarly, by the grace of God that sustained us in combating the various hurdles, we also recorded victory after victory at the courts.
Mr. Speaker, we are cognizant of the fact that we cannot continue to run an economy where the government has a near-monopoly on employment if we must bring widespread prosperity to Bayelsa. Our definition of prosperity envisions fashioning the environments that will allow our people not only to be self-employed but indeed, employers of labour. That is why we have emphasized the need to train and empower the youths through various SME schemes, in collaboration with CBN and International Donor Agencies.
Businesses are best safeguarded and sustained by prioritizing Security, investing in Public Infrastructure, Education, Agriculture in addition to Trade and Investment. Our cherished vision of prosperity can be actualized only if we put the right structures and policies in place. Consequently, in formulating this budget, we undertook broad consultations with various stakeholders across party lines and persuasions and borrowed the knowledge and capacities of different experts. We are convinced we are moving forward, in the right direction to actualize prosperity.
I am pleased to present to this august Assembly and to the people of our great state, with genuine humility and gratitude to a great God for all His benevolence, the 2021 BAYELSA STATE APPROPRIATION Bill. The Proposed Budget Size is N290,295,465,423.00 against N183,155,572,411.73 that was in the revised 2020 Budget.
The Proposed budget and its Relationship with the revised Covid a,19 Budget in 2020, is as follows:
Our proposed Expenditure is as follows –
S/N ITEM 2020 BUDGET N
2021 BUDGET PROPOSAL
1 Personnel Cost
2 Overhead Cost
3 Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges ---
Pension & Gratuity, G32, FGN Deductions, Debt Repayment etc.
4 Capital Expenditure
Mr. Speaker to give full expression to our lofty aspiration of bringing prosperity to the people of Bayelsa, certain sectors of the economy to be key drivers of the process, have been acknowledged.
WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The importance of proper infrastructure to accelerate growth cannot be exaggerated. The Igbogene/AIT, Glory Drive and extension of the 3 Senatorial Roads have been prioritized in this budget. The rehabilitation of several internal roads to improve the aesthetics of the State and make travelling on the roads in our rural communities more pleasurable, have also been captured. Accordingly, the sum of N34billion has been allocated to this sector.
Understanding that the state of health of the people is directly proportional to the wealth of the state, we have ensured that construction of General Hospitals across the headquarters of 8 Local Government Areas will be completed and put to use. We will continue to develop the primary health care system and create more opportunities for the retraining of staff of medical facilities to enhance the experience of patients and visitors to our health institutions. We will also rank prevention over cure, by embarking on intensive health enlightenment campaigns. In that consideration, the sum of N5.5Billion has been reserved for this sector.
The agriculture and aquaculture sector will continue to propel the economic diversification policy of this administration. In collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, other partners and donor agencies, this government will implement far-reaching plans to guarantee agriculture for food, jobs and wealth. To this end large portions of arable land have been cleared, preparatory to mass participation in agriculture. Attention will be paid to the Oil Palm Estate and the Cassava Processing Factory to make them more viable. To ensure that the opportunities in the agro value chain will be aggressively harnessed, the sum of N11.3Billion is allocated to the sector.
Education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of development. No people can achieve sustainable economic amplification without substantial investment in human capital. We will therefore invest in the improvement of the existing public schools' structures, from the primary, secondary, as well as tertiary levels. We will kick start the construction of 6 new model public schools in the Yenagoa metropolis. We will support the development of infrastructure in our secondary and tertiary institutions, to increase their carrying capacity. Giving that it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress and improving income distribution we have set aside N24.9Billion for the education sector.
TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Trade and foreign direct investment play a big part in the economic growth and development strategy in this budget. We will continue to provide security, the infrastructure and policy framework in order to improve the ease of doing business, to make us the investment destination of choice. We are keen to ensure that the activities of private sector enterprises play an important role in achieving higher economic growth for Bayelsa. We will enable our citizens to participate in economic activities through sundry SME platforms. Diri Boost, in partnership with CBN, one of such vehicles propelling this initiative, is already training and equipping over 1000 youths, with management, marketing and accounting skills, so they can operate their own businesses. We are also collaborating with the World Bank, to run the Government Entrepreneurial Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and with the Federal Government on Trader Money and Farmer Money, among other opportunities. Failure to invest means failure to grow and develop our social and economic fabric - we must have a stake in this. The sum of N500Million is earmarked for this sector.
Bayelsa is topographically adjudged to be below sea level and the issue of fluvial flooding is becoming a perennial menace. We are poised to start tackling this challenge by engaging experts, and taking immediate steps to proffer lasting solutions. The sum of N3.3 Billion is provided for the Ministry of Environment.
FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY
The State Government will continue to employ and harness the application of electronic technologies for the transparent management of the State’s scarce financial resources and ensure improved control mechanism in the areas of procurement of public goods and services, cash management, budgeting and financial reporting through SIFTAS and other State policies and guidelines.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BUDGET
Further details of the Budget of Growth 2021, are available on the state website.
Whereas, it is true that anticipated funds are often inadequate to satisfy every one of our desires as a state; it is also true that if we trust in a common vision and avoid division, there are no boundaries to what we can accomplish. The sacrifices we make and the seeds we sow today will yield a sustainable harvest that will make Bayelsa truly the Glory of all Lands and put us on an irreversible track of desirable development.
Apart from IGR and Federal Allocation, we intend to be strategic in positioning the state to attract and gain access to Grants and Donations, by carefully maintaining transparent budgeting, procurement, expenditure and accountability process to qualify for such interventions.
My profound congratulations to the good people of Bayelsa State, for your stamina, doggedness, sacrifices, patience, and partnership that you have accorded to this government as we have made some difficult choices to get the state out of some very inclement terrains. We appreciate the fact that there is still work to do to get us to fulfilling the manifest mandate of prosperity for all, but we still have much to be thankful for.
If there is one thing I have learned since the start of this administration, it is that, faith must stand trial and that examination precedes promotion. We present this Budget of Growth 2021 with the conviction that, God will grant us favour, understanding, and supernatural supply all that we need to actualise prosperity.
Mr. Speaker, this budget defines our focus and steps in the imminent financial year and our ambition to diversify the economy, prioritize education, empower our youths to embrace agriculture, industrialize our state, upscale tourism, promote trade and investment, protect the vulnerable, create Jobs and generally bring prosperity to all. I am therefore gratified by your kind attention and assure you that I do not take the importance of this great mandate, lightly.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I like to thank the leadership and all honourable members of this great House for your generous cooperation. I greatly appreciate the unflinching support we have unceasingly received from you and look forward to your careful consideration and expeditious passage of this important bill.
•Being the Speech by Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State, at the presentation of the Budget of Growth 2021 on the floor of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Thursday, November 26, 2020.
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