Bayelsa State Government on Wednesday doled out N312 Million for the payment of this year’s WAEC and NECO fees for students sitting for both examinations in the State.
Presenting the financial instrument to the Commissioner for Education, Chief Salo Adikumo during the State Executive Council meeting at Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Seriake Dickson said the gesture was in pursuance of his administration’s free and compulsory education policy.
Governor Dickson, who disclosed that about N10 billion has so far been expended to execute the policy and various scholarship schemes, warned principals and teachers to shun extortion of any kind, as government would not hesitate to deal decisively with those who flout its orders.
“Let me warn all headmasters and principals that if we receive any complaint that (with all these) you are still asking parents or guardians to contribute money in whatever form or guise in connection with NECO and WAEC payment, we will consider that as extortion and will deal with it appropriately.
“Let me also remind the schools board of their responsibility to monitor principals and headmasters because this is a State where we are providing everything for our pupils and students. We even spend money for the printing of certificates. Before, parents were paying money for certificates but now we approve money to enable the ministry print certificates,” he said.
According to the Governor, about N5 billion was spent on scholarship programmes for students studying within and outside the country while expenditure for procurement of free textbooks gulped N1.3 billion.
He said N610 million had so far been spent on the payment of WAEC and NECO fees, including the procurement of science equipment for both examinations.
He explained that, N500 million have been spent on the provision of free school uniforms, N24 million for exercise books while N22 million was used to procure dual sitting desks.
Hon. Dickson reminded Bayelsans of the need to contribute towards the development of the State by performing their civic responsibilities such as payment of taxes as and when due.
His words, “I can’t remember any State Government that has spent this amount of money on education. That is why we want our people to heed our call for understanding and support to fulfil their own part of the bargain by paying their taxes as and when due in all forms. We have done our own bit and that is why we are calling on them to do theirs. But this is a State where people judge performance of a Government by how much money officials of Government give out to them. It doesn’t matter to them whether you have taken all their children out and they are now in London and the US studying”.
Giving a run-down of the agenda for the meeting, the Governor who asked heads of ministerial departments and agencies to brief council on their activities, said his administration would pay the desired attention to economic empowerment of the people in the current fiscal year.
“In the past two years, you know we’ve been addressing infrastructural deficit. But from this year forward we are going to also look at empowerment of our people; how we can involve them more in the economy and create a more robust and participatory economy. And these are the State agencies that are involved in that aspect. So, I thought we should interact with them briefly and let them tell us what they understand of their mandate and what support they need from us”. FROM SAINT:
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