Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has signed three bills into law as part of his administration’s effort to promote good governance and enhance revenue generation.
Signed into law are the Bayelsa State Audit Bill, Information Technology Development Agency Bill and the Regulation of Sand Dealing, Dredging and Reclamation Operations Bill 2020.
Governor Diri, in a press release by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, condemned the activities of sand dredgers in the state for carrying out their operations without a recourse to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
He however lauded members of the House of Assembly for their foresight in sponsoring the bill to regulate dredging, saying it would help protect the environment from further degradation.
According to the governor, the activities of sand dredgers had become worrisome as they were partly responsible for most of the natural disasters in some communities.
His words: “We cannot have people dredging sand without an EIA. Nobody talks about the impact such activities cause our environment.
“This is something that has been bothering me and I didn’t know that the Assembly was already working on it to address the problem.
“A lot of natural disasters all over the place are traceable to some of these acts that we ignore. I am happy that I have assented to this bill to control dredging activities so that we do not plunge our state into further issues of degradation.”
On the Information Technology Development Agency Law, Senator Diri said the state government was only domesticating federal government’s policy to enhance transparency and acountability in its dealings.
He also expressed confidence in the leadership of the Assembly to work harmoniously with the executive arm of government to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
Presenting the bills, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Ogbere, explained that the Audit Law 2020 was intended to provide a comprehensive and indepth audit of funds, revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities of government.
Hon. Ogbere, who represented the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ingobere, said the law would also provide for the establishment of an Audit Service Commission that would strenghten the independence of auditors to function effectively.
Commenting on sand dealing and dredging operations, Ogbere noted that the bill was sponsored by the Leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Monday Bubou, the Chief Whip, Hon. Ebiwou Koku-Obiyai and Deputy Whip, Hon. Gibson Munalayefa.
The lawmaker maintained that the legislation would equally provide for the establishment of a licensing authority for the issuance of operational permit and specific charges to boost internally generated revenue.