Okowa approves N600m fund for SDGs

Delta State Government has approved the release of N600 million counterpart fund for the implementation of the 2017 Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs ) cycle in the state.

The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, who disclosed this to newsmen in Asaba, said it was part of the resolutions reached at the State Executive Council meeting held on Tuesday in Asaba.

Ukah said that the council also approved the construction and rehabilitation of more roads across the state to open up linkages between rural communities and urban centers.

He also said that at the completion of the roads, agrarian communities would be encouraged to evacuate their produce to various markets in line with the Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa agenda of prosperity for all Deltans.

Also, the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr Vincent Uduaghan, who responded to questions on the state divestment of its 60 per cent share in Delta Line Transport Company, said the move was apt.

Uduaghan said that the state transport company had degenerated to the extent that it could not pay salaries of its workers among other bills despite many years of government investments and support.

According to the commissioner, Delta Line debt now stands at over N500 million.

“Year in, year out, the record is there that government has invested in Delta Line but the expectation is not what happened.

“So, in looking for a way forward, the state divesting 60 per cent of its share in Delta Line is the right way to ensure an effective, efficient and result oriented transport company for all Deltans and Nigerians to enjoy,” he said.

Also, the Commissioner for Finance, David Edevwie, said that the 60 per cent share in the company amounted to about N160 million, adding that negotiation was on to ensure that most of the over 800 staff of Delta Line were retained.

He said that though the government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the preferred bidder, God is Good Motors; discussion was on to ensure that the right staff were recruited.

According to Edevwie, the preferred bidder has the expertise and would introduce new technologies to make the transport company safer, accountable and viable.

“To the best of my knowledge, I can count three times that government had pumped in millions into Delta Line and at the end there is no result to show for it.

“The company cannot pay its workers salary, creditors, so the issue has been debated in the Council before we arrived at where we are today, which is the signing of MoU.

“We have not completed the process, there is still going to be lots of discussion with union of Delta Line Company and I am sure at the end we will fare better than we have had over the past 17 years that the company had existed,” the commissioner said.

Edevwie said that the new management would also shoulder the company’s liabilities of well over N500 million.

The commissioner also spoke on the delay in completing the Multi-billion Naira Independent Power Plant (IPP) at Oghara, Ethiope East Local Government Area, saying it was due to paucity of fund.

He said that government was considering to divest part of its share in the project, or sell it off, after a complete review of the project.

Edevwie disclosed that the government had engaged an adviser on the way forward on the IPP project, adding that a definite decision would be taken before December.