By Jackson Udeani – The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson has disclosed that the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) failed to meet 5months into the new administration until recently, attributing it to the downward slide in the economy.
Dickson who hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for disclosing the economic status of the country, said the people deserves to know the truth that states are failing to meet their financial obligations.
The President came under intense criticism for publicly revealing the state of Nigeria economy, especially by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who argued that unguided disclosure about the economy could give negative impression to investors.
Addressing the new Special Advisers at Government House, Yenagoa, Wednesday, the governor said the way out is diversification from oil and gas sector of the economy.
“Already, you are all aware of the statement by the President that our country is in a very dire financial situation. That comment has attracted a lot of criticisms but I agree with the president that Nigerians are entitled to know the true state of the economy, he said.
Adding: “Investors who want to do business in Nigeria are entitled to know the true state of our economy. Let me use this opportunity to call on all Bayelsans to listen to what the President has said that the entire country is broke. He has made us understand that the financial situation that we are managing is a national phenomenon. It is not peculiar to Bayelsa.
The Governor said the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has not met since May 29, 2015, because there was no money to share to the states until recently.
”For the allocation of last month, the Federation Account Allocation Committee could not meet until the past month because they didn’t have money to share to the state and , even when they met for the first time since I took over as governor, states have started getting zero allocation,” he added.
“I don’t know why people are blaming the president for saying that our country is broke because that is the truth about the economy. States can’t pay salaries, we can’t meet our basic responsibilities. I can’t pay allowances to myself and my staff.
“However, even in the midst of that we are managing to pay salaries. Even in this terrible month, we have directed that by Monday salaries of workers should be paid.”
In his charge to the new appointees, the governor told them to bring their wealth of experience to bear in the present administration’s efforts to consolidate on its achievements.
According to him, the new aides are coming into government at a crucial moment of election and, therefore, urged them to join forces with other critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) to mobilize support for the party in the forthcoming election.
He tasked them to work closely with the state economic team to resuscitate the Bayelsa Palm Limited as the future of the state economy rests on agriculture, industrial development and tourism.
The newly sworn in appointees are; Chief Lambert Ototo, Special Adviser on Agriculture and Mr. Olaitari Ikemike, Special Adviser on Industrial Development.