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Diri Presents N480.9bn 2024 Budget to Bayelsa Assembly

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday, presented the 2024 budget of N480.99 billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration and passage.

Presenting the appropriation bill christened: “Budget of Sustainable and Shared Prosperity,” Governor Diri recalled that in October 2023, the assembly approved the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF and FSP) for the state.

He explained that the budget proposal was predicated on the assumptions contained in the approval of the assembly.

His words: “Mr. Speaker, I wish to present the 2024 budget estimates to the House.

We are guided by the desire to prepare a realistic, implementable and prioritised budget, which is a reflection of the aspirations and wishes of critical stakeholders, and the economic realities in the country.

“I hereby present to you the 2024 budget with a total size of ₦480,993,632,369.00.”

He said the 2024 estimates would be funded through statutory allocation, Value Added Tax, 13% derivation, internally generated revenue and other capital receipts.

On proposed expenditure, Diri said total personnel cost would gulp N69.120 billion representing 14.37%, total overhead cost N54.096 billion representing 32.04% while total capital expenditure was put at N257.777 billion.

Giving a breakdown of the sectoral allocation, the state’s helmsman stated that the Works and Infrastructure Ministry got the lion’s share of N141.837 billion followed by that of Education, which got N49.888 billion.

Also, the sum of N26.41 billion was earmarked for the Ministry of Health, Environment got N15.554 billion while Agriculture and Natural Resources was allotted N14.886 billion.

The Youth and Sports Ministry got N7.656 billion, Lands and Housing N6.876 billion while the Ministry of Power was allotted N6.49 billion among other ministries.

Diri also reviewed the 2023 budget performance, which he said achieved considerable success and consistency in critical areas such as, security, education, health, agriculture, human capacity building, and infrastructure development among others.

“We built and upgraded health facilities across all LGAs and health-related tertiary institutions, including completion and furnishing of the first psychiatric hospital in Bayelsa State.

“Also, in partnership with Fly Zipline, we established a health chain distribution system to cater for drug distribution and emergency health matters using drones.

“The Health Insurance Scheme enrolment is also growing by the day. As of 2020, our mobilisation was limited to the public service. We went further in 2023 to launch the “Diri Care” programme, which boosted the enrolment of the informal sector.

“The total enrolment as at November 2023 is 149,067 with civil servant enrollees totaling 118,030, vulnerable population 27,803, and the informal sector 3,134.

“We have in the past three years ensured that the Civil Service is given the necessary attention (including the prompt payment of salaries and regular promotions) for an effective work force, and to enhance the economic and social development of the state because ours is predominantly a civil service State.

“In addition, this administration consistently ensured that the entitlement of our senior citizens (by way of pensions and gratuities) are paid promptly. Over N3.3 billion was spent on gratuities and N10.8billion for pensions in 2023.

“Let me assure you that, even in the coming year, we will continue to meet our obligations to the senior citizens within the limits of available resources.”

In his remarks, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere commended the Prosperity Administration for its commitment to development of the state as well as maintaining a harmonious relationship with the three arms of government.

Ingobere, who particularly applauded the governor for prudent management of the state’s resources in executing the project, also congratulated him on his recent victory and re-election in the November 11 governorship poll in the state.

He assured that the 7th Assembly under his leadership would ensure timely passage of the budget estimate within three weeks.

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Wuye/Wuse Flyover 85% Completed, Ready in May – Wike

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The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, says the Wuye/Wuse Flyover is 85 per cent completed and will be inaugurated in May.

Wike stated this in Abuja on Saturday, after inspecting the project, along with the Vice-President’s residence and  11-kilometre (km) six lane dual carriage expressway linking Airport Expressway to Kuje.

Wike added that the road from Kuje to Airport Expressway, when completed, would open the area for transformative economic growth and development.

The minister, who equally visited the vice-president’s residence being handled by Julius Berger, expressed optimism that the project would be completed in May.

“I must commend the various contractors, the Arab Contractors and Julius Berger.

“The first site we went to is almost 85 per cent completed, that is, one of those interchanges in Wuye District. The contractors are keeping faith with their commitment to handover the project by May.

“Then we also went to Kuje to inspect the six-lane road of about 11km. The road from the Airport Road down to Kuje will open that area of the Area Council.

“The last time when I went to flag off one of the rural roads, we didn’t see much about the contractors, and I did say that the contractors are not serious.

“Going back there today, I am very impressed with the level and quality of work,” he said.

Speaking at the official residence of the vice-president, the minister said the contractors were at the stage of electrical installations, adding that a lot of changes would be seen in the next few weeks.

“We were at the VP’s residence which is being handled by Julius Berger and like I said, they have made further commitment that by May, they are going to hand it over.

“They are known for quality, and we are financing them well,” the minister said.

Wike reiterated that no ongoing project in the FCT would be abandoned, adding that the projects were considered as priority and have been included in the FCT’s 2024 statutory budget to ensure adequate funding. (NAN)

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Benue Rep Hands over Reconstructed Police Division, Quarters

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The Member representing Gwer /Gwer West Federal Constituency, Arc Asema Achado, has pledged to

enhance the working condition of police personnel in the constituency to boost their morale.

Achado made the pledge when he handed over the reconstructed Aliade Divisional Police Headquarters and personnel quarters, on Saturday in Gwer Local Government Area.

“This initiative stems from my firm belief that a conducive working environment fosters the morale of officers, thereby bolstering their capacity to combat criminal activities and mitigate the prevailing insecurity in the local government area”.

He said law enforcement agencies play critical roles in safeguarding the country and needed good working environment to operate effectively.

Achado recalled that the police division and personnel quarters were in a dilapidated state,  and he had to lobby the Federal Government through the Nigeria Police Force to award the contract.

He urged local authorities and Benue Government to provide infrastructure, vehicles and other logistics for the police and other security agencies to be more clinical in the discharge of their responsibilities.

An official of the Federal Housing Authority, Dr Mathias Byuan, said the federal government has made adequate provision for the building affordable houses for Nigerians.

He also said President Bola Tinubu was committed to providing enough funds to all security formations to enhance Nigeria’s internal and external defence systems. (NAN)

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Police Place N50m Bounty on 2 Katsina Bandits

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The Police Command in Katsina State on Sunday promised a N50 million reward to anyone with useful information that could lead to the arrest of two bandits – Modi Modi and Jan Kare.

The Police, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, alleged that the duo had been responsible for most of the terrorist attacks in the state.

The statement alleged that Modi Modi and Jan Kare, all males, were operating within Katsina State, particularly in the regions of Kankara and Safana Local Government Areas.

“The safety of the residents is of paramount importance, that is why we are making these commitments.

We are taking decisive actions against criminal elements threatening peace and stability,” it said.

Aliyu explained that the identity of the informant and the information provided would be kept strictly confidential.

“All concerned citizens are encouraged to give us any relevant information that could assist the security agencies in apprehending the masterminds behind these heinous crimes of kidnapping and banditry in the state,” he said.

He urged anyone with useful information to contact the command headquarters or call the following numbers: 07015142112 08023871144. (NAN)

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