Citizens’ Participation Crucial To Bayelsa Budget Process – Gov. Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said his administration would actualise its Prosperity Agenda for people of the state through their involvement in strategic government policies.

Governor Diri stated this on Monday during the second edition of the Citizens’ Participation for Preparation of the  2021 Annual Budget at the Harold Dappa-Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa.

Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor in a press release by his spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said the initiative was geared towards ensuring accountability and strong collaboration with all stakeholders in the state.

He said the collective review and approval of the budget would guarantee effective apportioning of resources in accordance with shared vision and values of the citizens.

His words: “We are here not only to fulfill a necessary obligation of the prosperity government but also to fulfill a legal provision.

“Over the years, we have always done a top-bottom approach in budgeting, which has made us to misplace and duplicate projects in communities. Thus this budgeting process will eliminate a lot of that.

“The Citizens’ Participation Budget Conference has been called in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2009 (as amended) with the outcomes of the conference to be published on the state’s website.”

To ensure sustained overall development, Senator Diri directed all council chairmen to work in conjunction with the Commissioners in charge of the senatorial districts to convene a similar citizens’ participatory budget session within a week and make their reports available in three weeks.

The governor, who equally identified security, education, agriculture, health and infrastructure as critical sectors of focus in the 2021 budget of the state, said emhpasis would be laid on continuation of construction of the three senatorial road projects.

He also assured that construction  and rehabilitation of roads in Yenagoa metropolis would receive government’s attention next year.

On security, Diri said efforts were being intensified to strengthen the security architecture to make Bayelsa a preferred investment destination, particularly as Yenagoa now hosts the zonal headquarters of the Nigeria Police, the Federal Fire Service and the Nigeria Customs Service.

While noting that education remained a cardinal priority of his government, the governor said under the Safe Schools Reopening Initiative, COVID-19 Safety Kits have been distributed to 192 government institutions and over 300 privately-owned schools.

In the health sector, he promised that the general hospitals across the eight local government areas would be equipped and made functional while four key areas of fish, rice, cassava and plantain production would be given priority in the agricultural sector to boost the state’s economy.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Akpoebidei Alamieyeseigha, highlighted the objectives of the budget process to include enhancing service delivery as well as identifying areas of interest towards promoting transparency.

Participants at the conference were drawn from the House of Assembly, commissioners, permanent secretaries, local government chairmen, labour unions, women and youth groups, civil society organisations among others.

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