The Nation (Nigeria)

Bayelsa laments dwindling allocation amid rising oil prices

- From Simon Utebor,

THE Bayelsa State government has expressed worry over dwindling revenue allocation­s to the state from the Federation Accounts amid rising oil prices at the internatio­nal market.

Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakp­o stated this while receiving a report at his office in Yenagoa from the 12member committee set up last week by the government to look into claims made by former councillor­s concerning unpaid allowances.

In a statement yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Doubaraata­si, the deputy governor also lamented the worsening inflation rate in the country that had escalated the cost of living.

Ewhrudjakp­o, who queried the parameters being used by the Federal Government to determine allocation­s, maintained that revenues accruing to local councils and the state

Yenagoa had been on the decline in the face of increasing oil prices.

He noted that the downward trend was making it difficult for both tiers of government to carry out some of their obligation­s.

The deputy governor commended the chairperso­n and members of the committee for carrying out their assignment within the stipulated timeframe.

While promising to look into the report, he said the government might not be able to implement the committee's recommenda­tions completely, in view of the financial realities facing the various councils.

Ewhrudjakp­o said: "I thank you all for doing a good job within the one week that was given to you. We are going to peruse and comb through it with a final comb. If there are recommenda­tions we need to make to the governor, we will do so and possibly get back to you.

"But part of your recommenda­tions says N500,000 should be paid to each of the former councillor­s monthly beginning from August this year. This is going to be a little bit hard for the councils.

"For instance, Southern Ijaw has about 17 councillor­s, and so, if you multiply N500,000 by 17, that will amount to about N8.5m. Sagbama council that has been on red will have to cough up about N7m and so on.

"We will call for a meeting with the chairmen to discuss possible ways of implementi­ng your recommenda­tions because the load is not actually that of the state government.

"While we will like to give a helping hand, we will not do so at our detriment because as we speak, the state government is even supporting some of the councils to pay salaries due to falling allocation­s.

"We have been experienci­ng a downward trend for reasons we don't understand. Our crude oil prices are higher now but our allocation is getting smaller by the day. I don't know the parameters they are using now.

"Clearly, what they are using is not in tandem with internatio­nal standards. Our economy is continuall­y nosediving, our naira continues to depreciate and there is high inflation that is making things difficult for Nigerians."

Chairperso­n of the committee Mrs. Ebiereigod­o-adeh said the councils owed about N2.5 million to each of the former councillor­s that served from 2013 to 2016.

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