Financial prudence: Other governors should learn from Dickson – Joseph Evah …..says he should be re-elected in 2016
A Niger Delta activist and coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, Mr Joseph Evah, has commended the Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, for his prudent management of state resources amidst financial crunch and debt burden debates in the country.
“Despite the various strides in infrastructure, education, health and economic development, Bayelsa State is not an indebted state as a borrower in the capital market and it is also a reminder to the skeptics that the state was not one of several others listed either among the heavily indebted states or the least indebted as current figures of the Debt Management Office (DMO) in the external debt categories indicated”, Evah emphasized.
The civil rights activist in a statement issued on Monday evening in reaction to the current national economic situation said such leadership trait marked out the governor as a visionary and modern manager whose understanding of public policy and public finance is making a difference.
According to him, the financial crunch weighing down many states with the biggest problem being inability to pay salaries was attributed to excessive borrowing and the challenge of dwindling revenue from the federation account, adding that borrowing without a productive base was not a sustainable policy and as such should be discouraged forthwith.
He however acknowledged that Bayelsa State despite going through the same revenue shortfall from the centre as other states, Bayelsa State is still able to keep afloat because of careful planning, blocking of leakages in the system, prudent and purposeful use of public funds and zero tolerance to corruption.
Evah said diversification of the national economy was imperative, adding that he was pleased that the state government was already in the forefront of exploiting alternative means of revenue other than oil and gas.
He said, “At a time like this, I think we should take stock of the challenges of development in Bayelsa State and with particular reference to the governor’s management style and results in economic development as a factor of public sector finance management. We have followed the national debates in the last few weeks on the tough situations in the economy which has a common concern in liquidity crisis where debt overhang is a major issue across the states and the widespread concern about inability to pay salaries.
“Although borrowing is not a bad thing when tied to specific development agenda, excessive borrowing to the extent of constituting liability to effective running of governments and meeting statutory obligations is an issue. While we are not in any position to condemn those caught in the web of financial tightrope especially in view of the huge shortfall in revenue from the federation account, we find it important to draw the attention of our people back home to the shrewd management by Governor Seriake Dickson which has helped to keep the state afloat till date. Indeed, we believe that the economic diversification agenda of the state government is the future which can help to create jobs and rely less and less on oil and gas. It is the solution to economic stability and sustenance.
“The truth is that no one state in the nation today can claim to be performing at optimal capacity for obvious reasons but the fact that Bayelsa State has continued to pay salaries and running government to keep up with other statutory obligations is a feat we should commend. It clearly speaks to vision, capacity, prudence and good leadership.
“We find it important to make this point to correct critics of the state government who are usually influenced by politics rather than the remarkable achievements of the governor.