DWINDLING OIL REVENUES: GOV DICKSON PLEDGES TO TRANSFORM BAYELSA ECONOMY FROM A CONSUMING TO A PRODUCTION ORIENTED ONE
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson on Thursday said the major focus of his administration would be to transform the state economy from a consuming to a production-oriented one to cushion the effects arising from the dwindling oil revenues.
Governor Dickson, who made the assertion in a live interview programme in Yenagoa, noted that, the present economic realities in the country have vindicated his earlier stance of diversifying the economy.
Highlighting the measures put in place to actualize the new economic blueprint, Governor Dickson said apart from formulating sound fiscal and investment policies, the government has established a Micro Finance Bank to drive the development of small and medium scale enterprises.
According to the Governor branches of the bank known as Izon-Ibe Micro-Finance Bank (IMFB), have been set up across the 8 local government areas of the state, with headquarters at Azikoro Road, in Yenagoa, with a view to creating employment opportunities.
To this end, he said the government would soon disburse funds at minimal interest rates to the people and called on Bayelsans, particularly women and youths to take advantage of the window of opportunities being opened for them.
His words: “It is our expectation that in the next 6 to 8 weeks we will formally launch our own bank, which we call the Izon-Ibe Micro Finance Bank. We already have a Central Bank of Nigeria approval in principle to start that bank. That bank will employ so many of our qualified manpower to start with and then working with our partners, that bank will begin to do micro financing to all our women in our communities. So women, get ready, your time for empowerment has come.
“The young people, who have ideas on how to do one business or the other get ready in your communities for proper identification, because we are a government that believes in doing things properly.
On his efforts on infrastructural development, Governor Dickson expressed optimism that, the ongoing construction of the airport project and the proposed Agge Deep Sea port, when completed would boost socio-economic activities and shore up the internally generated revenue.
While fielding questions on the issuance of certificates of occupancy, the Governor expressed his commitment to providing an enabling environment for the people to create wealth using their C of Os, adding that he has signed a number of land title documents for those who applied.
He pointed out that, the Bayelsa State Geographic Information System BGIS patterned after the Abuja model, was set up in the state to facilitate the processing and issuance of land documents, which he described as viable investible instruments.
In the area of housing, the Governor decried the exorbitant rates of house rents in Yenagoa, but, however, assured residents of the government’s readiness to collaborate with the private sector to provide affordable housing, stating that some units have been completed and ready for allocation to civil servants.
He noted that, large expanse of land has been acquired at Anyama and Agbura suburbs as well as the Boro Town in Kaiama to address the housing deficit for low and middle income earners.
Commenting on sanitation, Governor Dickson said, the government has re-positioned the environmental sanitation authority for efficient service delivery adding that, the government would split Yenagoa into different areas for indigenous waste management companies for easy collection and evacuation of refuse.