The Bayelsa State Government says it has released the sum of N200 million for the payment of bursary allowances to its students studying in institutions of higher learning across the country.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who disclosed this while responding to a question during a live interview programme in Yenagoa on Monday, said the funds were already at the disposal of the state scholarships board for disbursement.
Describing the amount released so far as the first tranche, he indicated government’s readiness to provide more funds to ensure that, all outstanding bursary entitlements are cleared soon.
The Governor, however, urged the students to be patient and cooperate with the board by complying with the processes being put in place to ensure a hitch-free payment of the allowance.
According to him:“When I said I was going to pay bursary from last month, I kept to my word by releasing the first tranche of N200 million. So, your money is already with the scholarship board and I believe they are following their processes because we are a government of due process.
“So, tell your colleagues to also follow all laid down processes, because that is not the Bayelsa we want to build for you the younger people. That is why we are re-organising this state to make it a better place for you people.
“The money is there. By the time they finish, I will add more until all your bursary entitlements are settled. And I count on you also be good students.
Apart from the bursary allowances, he said the government was also keeping faith with the payment of inherited pension and 18% minimum wage arrears, despite dwindling revenues accruing to the state.
On efforts at tackling unemployment, Governor Dickson noted that, though it is a global problem, his administration is taking practical steps such as provision of vocational training, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development fund, among others, to address the scourge.
While urging the youths to take advantage of the various empowermentprogrammes already put in place by the present administration, he pointed out that, government alone could not absorb the whole army of unemployed youths in the state, through the provision of white collar jobs.
He said “I am not one of those politicians that will tell you lies. I will tell you what most people will not want to hear. The truth is that government cannot provide automatic employment for every available graduate and young person in Bayelsa State.
But, let me assure you that we are concerned about the issue. There are some employments, that we have authorised. A number of people know that, we have employed more youths within this 2 year period than a lot of governments. We have employed 200 youths as forest guides on the basis of equality of local governments. Do you also know that, we have authorised the employment of science teachers? Do you know that a number of young people have been deliberately appointed into one office or the other to address this concern in the interim.”