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*Assembly Increases Budget For Stadium, Renal Centre Projects

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has signed the state’s 2024 appropriation bill of N489,443,632,374 into law.

Governor Diri appended his signature on the “Budget of Sustainable and Shared Prosperity” on Thursday in Government House, Yenagoa.

This figure represents an increase of N8.450 billion from the earlier N480,993,632,369 the governor presented to the House of Assembly for consideration on November 29, 2023.

His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted Senator Diri as saying that the budget prioritises key sectors like education, infrastructure, healthcare delivery and agriculture.

He expressed optimism that a careful implementation of the budget would improve the living conditions of the people and address rural and urban poverty.

He said: “In order to realise our vision of sustainable and shared prosperity, we have carefully crafted this budget to prioritize key sectors aimed at improving our infrastructure, expanding access to mass education with emphasis on Technical, Science and Vocational Manpower Development, enhance healthcare services, and promote agriculture as a means of creating employment opportunities and reducing poverty.

“You recall that I presented a budget proposal of N480,993,632,369 to the Assembly. But I observed an upward review to the tune of N489,443,632,374, which gives us a difference of N8,450,000,000 to provide more funding for the construction of an ultra-modern stadium, ultra-modern renal centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, the construction of an administrative block for the Primary Health Care Board and other critical overhead expenses.

“Having adopted the bottom-top approach in the preparation of this budget, specific rural community needs are being prioritized. It is our intention to ensure that the benefits of this budget are felt by all. We will work tirelessly to bridge the gap between the urban and rural areas in order to reduce the menace of urban poverty.”

Earlier, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Abraham Ingobere, stated that a slight upward review was made on the budget proposal of the governor to meet the present economic realities in the country.

He appreciated Governor Diri for presenting an all-inclusive budget that captured the economic realities and the yearnings of people of the state.

Ingobere said the approved budget had significant increase in the proposed capital and recurrent expenditure in consideration of current realities in the state and the country.

Diri also assented to the Bayelsa State Electricity Law 2023, charging the Managing Director of the state electricity board, Engr. Olice Kemenanabo, to ensure that the state sets up its electricity outfit to not only generate and distribute but also commercialize power.

He said with the liberalization of electricity by the federal government, the state now has the authority to generate, distribute and commercialize electricity even to neighboring states.

The governor described the signing into law of the electricity bill as historic, noting that hitherto electricity generation, distribution and commercialization was on the Exclusive List of the federal government.

He also directed Kemenanabo to issue licences to private investors interested in the sector as Bayelsa was endowed with gas, which is the primary resource.

“We have gas in abundance and we have no excuse not to have 24 hours electricity in Bayelsa State now that l have assented to this bill,” he said.

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