By Ebiowei Lawal
Gov. Seriake Dickson
YENAGOA- The Bayelsa State Government yesterday confirmed that it has paid N10.4bn in February and March to contractors handling various capital projects across the state.
The state’s Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (retd), who disclosed the figure at the transparency briefings for the two months said N4.2bn was paid in February while N6.2bn was released to the contractors in March.
He said the gross inflow to the state from the Federation Allocation Account (FAAC) in February including Statutory receipt of N2.9bn and derivation of N10.4bn was N15.20bn.
He said after N1.6bn frontline deductions from FAAC, the net inflow amounted to N13.3bn but increased to N15.1bn with the inclusion of the Internally- Generated Revenue (IGR) of N1.7bn.
Explaining further, he said the government spent N5.9bn to offset other expenses such as salaries of civil servants N2.9bn, salaries of political appointees N301.2m; grants to tertiary institutions N630m and restructured bank loans N1.7bn.
He said out of the balance of N9.1bn, recurrent expenditures gulped N3.3bn while the capital payment amounted to N4.2bn leaving a balance of N1.5bn.
According to Jonah with N7.7bn balance brought forward from January, the state had a balance of N9.3bn at the end of February.
Jonah further disclosed that the capital payment for March was N6.2bn adding that the state got N15.3bn gross inflow from FAAC.
He further said that after the initial FAAC deductions of N1.6bn, the state was left with with net inflow of N13.7bn.
But he said the IGR for March stood at N1.1bn which he said increased the amount available for spending to N14.8bn.
He said the state paid N6.6bn to offset other expenses but was left with a negative balance of N1.7bn after paying N3.6bn for recurrent and N6.2bn for capital projects.
He said with the balance brought forward of N9.3bn, the state was left with a balance of N7.5bn after March.
Highlighting some of the capital projects the N10.4bn was used to finance, the deputy governor named the New Yenagoa City project.
He said: “We are to launch the new Yenagoa City. We have to cross over the Onopa bridge. We don’t want work to be suspended again. So part of the money went to that project.
“Julius Berger has come back again for Isaac Boro Road. It is a major project that the government has embarked upon. I won’t be able to tell exactly, but I don’t think any of them was paid more than a billion naira to come back and start.
“We also have arrangement for the Ekeremor road. There are about three bridges that are going on and sand-filling. They are getting regular payment. The arrangement is that work will not stop there. There are other projects that I don’t have here.
“We are also trying to see how we can complete our stadium, the golf, polo club to add value. We also promise that at the end of this year, we should be able to cross over to the new Yenagoa City and start developing our plots.
“We paid some money on Oporoma road. The road has got to Nembe and we are thinking of how to get to Brass”.
Jonah also spoke on the rationale behind the reduction of salaries of political appointees including the commissioners.
He said: “The government had the option to either half the salaries to make savings or reduce the number of the commissioners. We felt it couldn’t be wise enough to reduce the number of commissioners because of the political implications of the spread.
“In as much as you talking of the economy, you are also talking about social issues. We decided that commissioners must make sacrifice. If you knew the salaries of commissioners before this time, what they have now is slightly less than half.
“They must all make sacrifice because of the realities on ground. The same applies to other appointees.”