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Bayelsa Govt Restructures N50bn Bond Repayment, Plans Massive Investment in Agric

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Bayelsa State Government on Thursday approved the restructuring of the ongoing repayment of the N50 billion bond secured by the previous administration to 2019, instead of the 2017 it was scheduled to end.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, who made this disclosure said it was part of the resolutions reached at the 60th Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Seriake Dickson in Government House, Yenagoa.

He said the decision to restructure the repayment arrangement would help to reduce the financial burden being borne by the state as a result of the deductions made from its monthly allocations for the bond and overpayments credited to the previous administrations.

According to Hon. Obuebite, the state government pays about N1.3billion every month, noting that the administration has paid over N90billion out of the total value of N104billion.

His words, “ Council has approved the restructuring of the 50 billion naira bond for which the Bayelsa State Government has paid up to N92.6bn. It has approved the restructuring of the bond, which was to terminate by 2017 to 2019 so as to reduce the burden of repayment that the state government has been carrying.”

The Information Commissioner said the State Executive Council also gave approval for payment of the variation totaling N1.2bn, which was applied for by Julius Berger, the contractor handling the Opolo-Elebele Road.

Hon. Obuebite, who explained that the variation covers items such as roundabouts and bridges that were not part of the original award of the double-carriage way road project, maintained that Council also approved payment of debts owed the contractor of the Toru-Ebeni Bridge Access Road, which has since been completed.

The Information Commissioner also noted that Council expressed displeasure over the theft of a 50 KVA electricity generating plant and the vandalization of other equipment at the Sports Academy, Asoama, in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area and other project sites across the State and called on community leaders to protect projects sited in their areas, as they are meant to bring development to the people.

Commenting on the flood alert for this year, he said Council decided to set up a committee headed by the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, with a mandate to open up strategic drains in the Yenagoa metropolis as well as liaise with other relevant agencies, particularly the Ministry of Information and Orientation to enlighten the public on proactive measures against flooding.

Also briefing the press, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Doode Week noted that, the Government has approved the establishment of a mega aquaculture farm on its 172-hectare land already acquired at Igbogene.

According to Mr. Week, the 500 earthen pond fishing community, which will comprise a hatchery, feed mill and a processing facility of international standard, is geared towards empowering Bayelsans, particularly the youths and women of the state.

He also spoke on the government’s renewed efforts at harnessing the  comparative advantage of the state in rice and oil palm production, with the establishment of processing plants by leveraging on low interest funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

According to him, “For the fact that we have comparative advantage on rice production, Council approved that the Isampou 4,000 Rice Field will be inspected and immediate action will be taken on it. And, before the rice value chain will be developed seriously, there is the need for the state to have an ambitious processing plant.

“Plans are in place for the government to acquire and own 50 tons per day rice processing plant that will meet the processing needs of Bayelsa and its environs. It is expected that the end-product will be exportable because it will be of international standard.”


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