Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson on Monday justified the proposed 60m euros Tied Direct Aid, (TDA) from Poland, arguing that it is not a loan facility as being rumoured by members of the opposition.
This is just as he ordered the immediate arrest of some civil servants over an alleged salary fraud.
Making this known during the monthly Transparency briefing for the month of August, Hon. Dickson said there was no iota of truth in the rumours making the rounds that the State Government has secured parliamentary approval for obtaining 60million euros from the Polish Government.
He explained that, the financial assistance tagged, “Tied Direct Aid,” (TDA) is interest free and is aimed at financing the proposed Maritime Academy at Okpoama in the Brass Island area of the State.
In his clarification, the Governor stated that his administration is not taking any loan from any bank or Government, rather the Polish Government has agreed to finance the proposed Maritime Academy and recoup the investment fund within thirty years.
His words, “the Polish Government offered to work with us to build a Maritime Academy which is like a University. We wanted a Maritime Academy in Brass Island. This State has the potentials because of our maritime nature. We want to dominate the maritime industry going forward.
Today, there are countries like the Philippines and others, whose Gross Domestic Product mainly comes from their sea farers. We, Bayelsans want to aspire to that, we dream big dreams for our people and we need your support and cooperation to actualize this.
The Polish Ambassador came here and said Mr. Governor; we have seen what you are doing. We are a strong maritime nation and we want to work with you to develop your maritime potentials”
“To this end, I instructed the Deputy Governor to lead a delegation to Poland and was received warmly. The President of Poland visited President Jonathan and raised the issue in their bilateral discussions.
The Government of Poland later wrote to us and said they wanted to work with us to build the Maritime Academy. We have the funds and the expertise. We are actually going to affiliate it to our own maritime academy or University. We will build it, we will operate it, and we will run it and provide training.
I told them that Bayelsa would not pay them one naira back. They said no problem. They said they will bring the funds and when the institution is set; they will be admitting students from all over Africa and other places.
It is not a loan, get it right, it is a Tied Direct Aid. What it means is that, it is tied to a particular project. They will bring the fund and supply the manpower. They will bring the ships. It is going to be a big Maritime Academy. They will now service it back in 30 years”.
On the alleged fraud in the State civil service, the Governor disclosed that he has ordered the arrest of some civil servants over an alleged salary fraud.
Reiterating his commitment to sanitize the civil service, the Governor said even though some corrupt workers are still doing everything to beat the system that has been put in place, Government would not relent in its efforts at restoring normalcy.
According to him, “I have given instructions for the apprehension of some civil servants. I directed that they be arrested and investigations be carried out, because now unknown to them, I have different layers set up by which we monitor what goes on. People are there who have no business being on the payroll of our State.
“It is when we are able to eliminate these fraudulent activities that we can now have enough resources to build the schools, roads and we are thinking of how to get partners to build a road from Nembe to Brass which is N90bn and the same for the road from Ekeremor to Agge estimated at N120bn.”
Presenting the figures of the State’s earnings, the Deputy Governor, Retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, said the balance of funds standing to the credit of the State Government as at the end of August 2013, stood at N14bn.7.
The Deputy Governor who remarked that the gross inflow was N13.7bn, gave a break down of the amount which include, Statutory Allocation- N2.5bn, Derivation Fund-N8.6bn, SURE-P-N1.5bn while the State did not receive any fund from the Excess Crude Account and Augmentation for the Month of August.
He also stated that, total deductions at source came up to N2.71bn comprising a Bond loan of N1.2bn, foreign loans amounted to N12 million while refund of overpayment on the revised Excess Crude Account from 2008 to 2009 stood at N187.8million representing the 32nd payment out of 72 installments.
On recurrent expenditure, Retired Rear Admiral John Jonah said N3.9bn went for payment of salaries of civil servants while that of political appointees amounted to N414million.
According to him, other recurrent expenditures include, monthly overhead, N1.4bn, transfer to gratuity account- N250million while capital payments stood at N6.98bn and recurrent payments came up to N2.67bn.
Former Governor of old Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and one time Speaker of the House Representatives, Rt. Hon. Umar Ghali Na’abba, who were in attendance were full of praises for Governor Dickson, noting that he has set a standard for other State Government s to follow.
In their separate remarks, they both described the process as a step in the right direction and called on all Bayelsans to rally round the administration in its efforts at moving the State to enviable heights.
The Transparency initiative monthly press briefing, which was the 16th in the series, is the first by any State Government in the Federation.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State