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The Ad hoc Committee on State and Local Government Administration of the Nigerian Senate has given the government of Bayelsa State thumbs up on the prudent management of resources accruing to it.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abdullahi Gumel gave the commendation, when he led members of the committee on a courtesy call to Governor Seriake Dickson in Government House, Yenagoa.
Senator Gumel, who noted that they were in the state to perform their oversight functions on the management of statutory allocations, expressed satisfaction on the utilization of funds, particularly the bailout funds to the state.
He said members of the committee had earlier met with the state’s economic team, during which they scrutinized the financial reports of the state government, describing the reports as very impressive.
His words, “Four states got the bailout in the south-south, but Rivers and Akwa Ibom States did not take the bailout. We have seen the level of compliance here and we are very impressed. We have seen that accountability is working in Bayelsa State and we hope we find this in all the states we are going to visit.”
In his response, Dickson pointed out that, one of the first bills initiated and passed into law was that of the Accountability and Transparency, which he noted, has in no small measure contributed significantly to promoting good governance in the state.
According to him, every month the state government renders its income and expenditure profile to the people and it is also mandatory for local government councils to comply with the law.
While emphasizing that such mechanisms were part of measures to check financial recklessness, particularly in the administration of the local government system, Governor Dickson stated that, as soon as the state government works out modalities, it would ensure remittance of the refunds from the Paris Club to the councils.
“Nobody in the state government is allowed to tinker with local government resources, so the bailout that they got, everything that was meant to get to the local governments went to them. And, we told them to follow the guidelines, even recently when the Federal Government started making refunds of the excess deductions for the Paris Club and other refunds, again, every kobo meant for the local government received by us was announced to the state and kept aside. And, in no distant time, once the modalities are worked out, it will be remitted to the councils for the purpose it was given.”