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Bayelsa forecloses downsizing workforce despite huge wage bill

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Declares January, February income, expenditure
Bayelsa State Government, yesterday, assured civil servants that there was no plan to downsise its workforce in view of the huge wage bill, saying it will rather seek alternative sources of revenue to shore up its finances.

Commissioner for Finance, Maxwell Ebibai, gave the assurance at the briefing for the months of January and February 2021 in Yenagoa.

Ebibai said the state government received N6.8b in February from the Federation Account after first line deductions as against the huge wage bill and other recurrent expenditures of N7.358b.

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He noted that the cost of running government was challenging, as the state was contending with dwindling revenues coupled with low internally generated revenue (IGR).

Presenting the income and expenditure figures for January, Ebibai the said state received N2.2b as statutory allocation, derivation of N5.5b, Value Added Tax (VAT) N1.4b, exchange rate gain of N81.9m and foreign exchange equalisation of N158m, bringing the gross receipts from the Federation Account to N9.4b.

He disclosed that N1.9b was the total deductions from the Federal Allocation Accounts Committee (FAAC), of which the state spent N47.7m for foreign loans, restructuring of N5.4b refund of overpayment of revised 13 per cent derivation indices N183.3m and payment of N940m to oil producing states, as refund of N11.2b, among others.

Ebibai also stated that funds from other receipts include IGR of N890m, refund of excess crude N9.1b and N1b as funds from other sources, amounting to gross revenue of N19.1b.

He explained that of the N19b, government spent N1.2b as bank loans and guarantees, civil servants salary (N4b), salary arrears (N310m), political appointees salary (N325m), gratuities (N150m), grants to tertiary institutions (N849m) and minimum wage arrears (N50m), among other components.

He pointed out that payments came to N7.358b, leaving a balance of N11.8b, saying recurrent and capital expenditure gulped N18.7b leaving a deficit of N6.9b, which was financed from the N17b balance brought forward from December 2020, adding that it had a balance of N10b as at January ending.

For February, Ebibai noted that for February, total receipts from the Federation Account stood at N8.8b, comprising N2.4b as statutory allocation, derivation N4.5b and VAT of N1.8b.

He said total deductions gulped N1.94b comprising foreign loans of N35.9m, commercial agricultural credit scheme (N95m), refund of N11.2b to oil producing states N940m and restructured commercial loan (N741m).

He noted that the state got IGR of N951m for February, refund from excess crude account (N20b) leaving the state with N27.8b net revenue, among other receipts, deductions and expenditure.

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