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Bayelsa 2024 Budget Lacks Direction – BDIC

A group, Bayelsa Development Initiative (BDI) has described Governor Douye Diri’s 2024 budget as a repetition of past documents, saying it lacks vision and direction to champion the development of the state.

BDI said after looking at the document, that there was nothing to be happy about as it represents the old budgets with a high increase in recurrent expenditure to satisfy the huge appetite of the ruling class to the detriment of the state and the people’s development and empowerment.

In a statement on Sunday signed by the Secretary of the group, Michael Sam-Rodamini BDI stated that the 2024 Budget was simply a repetition of similar past documents with the same sub-heads adding that the only difference is that old figures were changed and adjusted to higher ones.

It said that it was not the product of any deep thinking and serious research to reflect the new realities and challenges of the people.

The group insisted that Bayelsa was in dire need of quality capital projects such as roads, bridges, and water among others and required a budget that would ambitously cut the astronomically high cost of running government contained in Diri’s 2024 budget.

BDI said while a whooping N39.4bn was budgeted for the governor’s office and N7bn for the Government House, the entire Ministry of Water Resources got only N1.7bn.

The group observed that while Diri planned to spend N13.3bn on local and foreign trips; N650m on legal services; N108m on telephone calls and N1.6bn on refreshments, he set aside paltry sums of N6.5m for craft development centres; N980m for the University of Africa and N60m for physical planning and development.

BDI wondered the kind of work the Finance Ministry was expected to do for Bayelsa that a whooping N60bn was allocated to it while the Ministry of Agriculture, which was supposed to be the focus of any serious government had only N14bn.

The statement continued “A look at the budget shows repetitive sub-heads with huge amounts of money allocated to them. Despite the huge sum of money allocated to the Governor’s office, there are also security votes of about N12bn; security services of about N2.6bn; and cleaning and fumigation of N2.5bn among other channels designed to funnel our money into private pockets.

“This is evidence that Diri’s government has no plan to develop the agricultural sector, which is supposed to play a crucial role in addressing hunger to ensure food security, enhance the standard of living and promote the economy. Bayelsa’s agricultural potential will remain untapped in this government”, BDI said.

“The masses of Bayelsa will continue to buy water from vendors popularly called ‘merua. With such a paltry sum of money budgeted for the Ministry of Water Resources, it means that the government has no plan to embark on the much-needed water reticulation project to connect Bayelsa homes to pipe-borne water. This government is not ready to do anything that will benefit the people”.

“The implication is that while the governor lives in profligacy, buying the best-bottled water to quench his thirst, the masses of Bayelsa will still groan under the affliction of waterborne diseases as they keep depending on contaminated water bodies to quench their thirst.

“Why in this time and age will a government budget only N6.5m for the Craft Development Centre under the Ministry of Local Government? Such an area should be critical to delivering skills to youths, and create an army of entrepreneurs to reduce unemployment among the youths.

“Bayelsa needs deliberate efforts to plan its cities, find new cities, and restructure the capital city. With this budget of profligacy, it is clear that BDI said.

“Indeed, our dear Bayelsa has entered into another round of one-chance government, a routine government system run by people, who only think about their selfish interest without any iota of patriotism for the state and her people.

“Bayelsa’s money is deliberately misappropriated, misapplied and squandered for personal self-aggrandizement.

“It will surprise you that there is no money voted for the Yenagoa New City Project, which is supposed to expand the capital city, build new homes and crash the high cost of renting accommodation in the state. Just lay your hand on the state budget and you will weep for Bayelsa”.

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