GOV DICKSON CALLS FOR BELT TIGHTENING IN THE FACE OF TERRIBLE DECLINE IN INFLOW FROM FEDERATION ACCOUNT
As a result of the shortfall in federal revenue allocation to States, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson has called on the people of the State to brace up to the harsh economic reality of the times, noting that the allocation in the past months to the State has nosedived by about N5 billion.
According to a Government House statement, this situation has prompted many States to cut salaries of workers in their States by half, while many others cannot meet their salary obligation to civil servants and even to contractors.
Cross River and Benue States are among States in the Federation that have taken steps to cut salaries by half owing to the grim economic downturn.
The statement however, noted that, in these States nobody is complaining or seen taking to the streets in protest because they appreciate the times that they are in and are willing to support their respective state governments to weather the difficult times.
The Government House statement read in part “Regrettably here in Bayelsa State should such a drastic measure be taken some unscrupulous and disgruntled politicians would have cashed in on it to incite the workforce and the people to stage a mass street protest against the government and in the process use it as a political platform to heap all manner of insults and name calling on the government of the day.
It explained that, like every other state, Bayelsa is also experiencing a terrible shortfall in its inflows, stressing that necessary measures would be put in place to avoid a situation where it will impact seriously on the economy of the State.
According to the statement, it is for this reason that, the Dickson-led government has always exercised maximum prudence, particularly in granting approvals that are recurrent in nature.
In view of this development, the Governor has ordered the Commissioner of Finance and his team to expeditiously work out modalities to cut down on the State wage bills such as remunerations approved for parastatals and travel allowances for government functionaries including the Governor.
Governor Dickson, however instructed that it should be done in such a way that the State should be able to cope with the stress that has been induced by the reduction in its inflows.
While calling on Bayelsans to show understanding by bracing up to the current economic realities, Hon.Dickson said as a leader of the Restoration government, he will be failing in his duties, by hiding the truth from the people and not pointing out the dangers.
“I have a duty as your Governor to explain the reality of our current economic situation. It will interest you to note that from when I took the oath of office till now, our monthly revenue has dropped by over N5 billion. So, if we are not careful to build alternative revenue sources, we will get to a point where the Federal revenue will not be enough to enable us meet our minimum obligation as a State, particularly bearing in mind the very high wage bill that we have in this State that is higher than that of any other state in this country.
Therefore, I have directed that approvals beginning with Government House expenditures should be further reduced by as much as 50 percent in the light of the current realities. There is every need for us to review most of our expenditure patterns and let it be said when that day comes that, there was a Governor who saw that possibility and worked hard to avert it.”