World Bank lauds Bayelsa’s mid-term economic report
The World Bank Team, led by Mr. Volker Treichel, was in the Bayelsa State over the weekend to review progress on actions agreed during the maiden meeting of both parties in March this year.
In its review, the team noted that there has been significant progress by the government in carrying out an environmental scanning of Yenagoa the state capital with a view to establishing a more solid tax base, the ongoing staff biometrics capture exercise and also commended the Public Accounts Committee of the State House of Assembly for clearing all backlogs of audited reports.
The team, which also included Winston Cole, Khwima Nthara and Pierre Strauss, said their review mission was also aimed at further discussions on key short-term actions in the area of public financial management to help the government achieve desired improvements in the transparency and accountability of resources.
The report also commended the state government for responding swiftly to the problems of dwindling revenue receipts which it noted was due to sharp fall in oil production occasioned mainly by militants’ activities as well as decline from Federal Allocation, value added tax, corporate income tax and excise taxes on account of the global economic downturn.
The team described as commendable the government’s efforts for curtailing capital expenditure and reducing overhead expenditure, while protecting basic social expenditure, emphasising that the state borrowing capacity is expected to remain within the ceilings stipulated in the budget approved by the State House of Assembly.
The report stressed the need for ownership of the reforms programme to be expanded, while regular meetings of stakeholders through Steering Committee and systematic follow-up of all agreed actions.
The Team is expected back to Yenagoa next month for further discussions on progress in the public expenditure tracking survey and the use of the State and Peace Building Fund to address youth unemployment.
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