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“The 2024 Budget for Diri is visionless.” The Bayelsa group

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Governor Douye Diri’s 2024 budget, according to an organization called the Bayelsa growth Initiative (BDI), is merely a compilation of earlier documents and lacks the vision and guidance necessary to advance the state’s growth.

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After reading the document, BDI stated that there was nothing to be happy about because it was essentially a rehash of previous budgets with a significant increase in ongoing spending to appease the ruling class’s voracious appetite at the expense of the government and the advancement and empowerment of the populace.

“The 2024 Budget is essentially an identical reprint of earlier versions with comparable subheadings. The only modification made to the previous figures was their adjustment to higher values. According to BDI, “it is not the result of any serious research or deep thinking to reflect the new realities and challenges of the people.”

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The budget includes N176.6 billion in capital expenditures and N212.7 billion in recurrent expenses. But in a statement released on Sunday and signed by its secretary, Michael Sam-Rodamini, the group claimed that the budget was powerless to free the state from the chains of hunger, poverty, and underdevelopment.

BDI emphasized that Bayelsa desperately needed high-quality capital projects—roads, bridges, and water, to name a few—and that Diri’s 2024 budget include a budget that would reduce the absurdly high cost of running government.

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BDI emphasized that the whole Ministry of Water Resources was allocated a mere N1.7 billion, yet an astounding N39.4 billion was allocated for the governor’s office and N7 billion for Government House.

The inference is that the people of Bayelsa would continue to suffer from waterborne illnesses as long as they continue to rely on tainted water sources to fulfill their thirst, while the governor indulges in extravagant lifestyle and purchases the best bottled water to quench his thirst.

The inference is that the majority of Bayelsans will keep purchasing water from sellers known as “mai ruwa.” The administration does not want to start the urgently needed water reticulation project to connect Bayelsa homes to pipe-borne water, as evidenced by the pitiful amount of funding allocated to the Ministry of Water Resources. Nothing that will assist the people will be done by this government.

With the Finance Ministry having a staggering N60 billion, BDI questioned what type of work the Ministry of Agriculture—which should be the center of any genuine government—was expected to perform for Bayelsa given its meager N14 billion.

“This demonstrates that Diri’s government lacks a strategy to grow the agriculture industry, which is expected to be essential in combating hunger in order to guarantee food security, raise living standards, and boost the economy. Under this administration, Bayelsa’s agricultural potential would stay unrealized, according to BDI.

The group noted that Diri allocated meager amounts of N6.5 million for craft development centers, N980 million for the University of Africa, and N60 million for physical planning and development, while planning to spend N13.3 billion on domestic and international travel, N650 million on legal services, N108 million on phone calls, and N1.6 billion on refreshments.

“A look at the budget shows repetitive sub-heads with huge amounts of money allocated to them,” the group added. Notwithstanding the enormous amount of funding allotted to the Governor’s Office, there are additional avenues set up to divert our funds into the coffers of private individuals, such as security votes at over N12 billion, security services worth roughly N2.6 billion, and cleaning and fumigation services for N2.5 billion.

“You’ll be surprised to learn that no funding has been approved for the Yenagoa New City Project, which aims to build new residences, expand the state’s capital city, and lower the exorbitant cost of renting housing.”

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