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Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, on Tuesday, presented an Appropriation Bill of N242.28 billion for the 2020 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.

Presenting his maiden budget estimate christened: ‘Consolidation for Prosperity 2020’, Mr Diri said the Appropriation Bill defined the structure of the economic activities to be undertaken in the fiscal year.

In a statement by his acting Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, the governor explained that the policy thrust of his administration in the next four years remained consolidating on the gains already made by the previous government.

He said his administration would embark on special programmes and projects aimed at wealth creation.

Mr Diri, a former senator, added that his administration would encourage the people to participate in agriculture, small and medium scale enterprises and create opportunities toward attracting the private sector for industrialisation.

He noted that other programmes include infrastructure development, housing and urban renewal, human capital development and public sector and financial management reforms.

On the current economic outlook, the governor said as a result of the ravaging effect of COVID-19 on the global economy, there was need for prudent management of resources.

He said the price of crude oil had nosedived drastically, thus affecting revenue from statutory allocations from the Federation Account.

Mr Diri noted that human resources, financial reporting, budgeting and procurement components of the state’s Integrated Financial Management Information System (SIFMIS) would be fully implemented this year.

The governor also gave assurance that his administration would continue with the implementation of the Federal Government approved minimum wage for workers, adding that the payment of gratuity arrears had already commenced for pensioners.

In his remark, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, commended Mr Diri and his team for the steps taken so far to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into the state.

Mr Ingobere, however, urged the state government to adopt more strategies to raise funds from alternative sources, while seeking ways to cushion the effects of restrictions occasioned by the virus.

The speaker gave an assurance that the assembly would expedite passage of the Appropriation Bill.

(NAN)

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