GOV DICKSON PRESCRIBES DIVERSIFICATION, AGGRESSIVE IGR DRIVE, AS PANACEA FOR NIGERIA’S FINANCIAL CRISIS
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has described effective diversification from the monolithic oil-based economy and aggressive internally generated revenue drive as the panacea for the financial crisis rocking the country.
Speaking against the background of dwindling monthly revenues at the State Government’s monthly transparency briefing in Yenagoa at the weekend, the Governor noted that, sustainable prosperity will remain a far cry, as long as States in the federation solely depend on statutory allocations from the Federal Government.
He pointed out that, Bayelsa was not ranked among the heavily indebted States in a recent survey, because of the deft financial management machinery of the State Government, stressing that current economic realities in the country have justified his administration’s policy thrust of diversifying the local economy and expanding the IGR base of the State.
While blaming the current lull in projects initiation and execution in the State on depleting revenues, Governor Dickson said his administration would in the meantime give priority attention to the payment of workers’ salaries and for the financial situation to improve before embarking on new projects.
His words: ” As you can see the pace with which we were embarking on most of the ambitious projects we started have slowed down. And that is very painful to us as a Government, because we know where we want the State to be, by the time those projects would have been completed.
” But unfortunately for more than a year now, all States in the Federation and even the Federal Government have been finding it difficult to embark on and finish projects as well as meet other responsibilities. We foresaw this, that was why we initiated the twin policies of diversification of our economy and an aggressive IGR drive.
” I know that the last one (IGR drive) raised a lot of issues but again, I thank Bayelsans for their understanding because whether it is this government or any other government, we will not be a sustainable state unless we are able to raise revenue here in Bayelsa that can meet at least the cost of running our government and until that is achieved, sustainable prosperity will remain a far cry.”
Presenting the statements of accounts for the months of March and April 2015, the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (RTD), disclosed that, the State Government recorded an IGR of N841million for February and a negative net balance of N3.04billion as at the end of March, 2015.
For April, he announced N9.6billion as total gross inflow from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), which comprises statutory allocation of N1.7b, derivation-N5.9b; exchange differentials-N998million; value added tax (VAT)-N633million and refunds from NNPC-N282million.
Deductions at source, according to the Deputy Governor, amounted to N1.5billion, including bond deductions of N1.2b, foreign loan repayment-N28.4million, refunds to Akwa Ibom State over Ekanga oilfield-N131.5million among others, thereby leaving the State with N8.01billion as net inflow from FAAC,
He said outflows for April totalled N8.8billion, comprising First Bank repayment of N3.6billion, civil servants’ salaries-N4.05billion, while that of political appointees was put at N426million, in addition to a N242.5million monthly standing approvals.