Okowa signs 2018 appropriation bill into law, assures of full implementation
• Laments delay in takeoff of maritime varsity
• Vows to sanction Asaba Airport contractor, Delta debt profile hits N735b
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday signed the state Appropriation Bill of N308 billion into law, assuring that his administration would ensure its full implementation.Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, who was accompanied by Deputy Speaker, Friday Osanebi and other principal officers of the House presented the appropriation bill to the governor at Government House, Asaba.
Oborevwori also presented the Delta State Remunerations, Salaries, Allowances, Gratuities and Pensions of Certain Public Office Holders and Bodies Amendment Bill 2017, which was also signed by the Governor.While describing the budget as realistic and realisable, Okowa lauded the synergy between the three arms of government in the state, especially between the executive and the legislature.
“The budget is N308 billion and we are happy that the provision for the capital expenditure is more than what was provided for in the recurrent expenditure,” he said.Meanwhile, Okowa lamented the delay in the commencement of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko in Burutu Local Council of the state.He noted that the Federal Government earlier assured that the university would commence academic activities in October this year but failed to fulfill its promise.
He, however, pointed out that the Federal Government recently released N1 billion for the takeoff of the university, and pledged an additional N6 billion.
Okowa also disclosed that in his administration’s resolve to develop the university, the state government supported it with N100 million as takeoff grant.He said the state was spending N1billion monthly for the payment of pensions and gratuity, adding that his administration had in the past two years constructed 176 classrooms and renovated 924 others across the state.
He said that in line with his administration’s promises to improve the well being of Delta people, he had provided training employment through STEP and YAGEP for 33, 224 persons in collaboration with the state office for jobs creation and expressed satisfaction over the recently concluded trade exhibition.“I am particularly happy that the World Bank is partnering with the state to provide employment for our youths. Next year, over 600 youths would be trained in different skills’ acquisition,” he added.
On roads construction, he disclosed that 173 roads were awarded with over 120 completed and commissioned across the state, stressing that the state government was committed to providing basic infrastructure at the Asaba International Airport.Okowa explained that although there were issues surrounding the airport project, saying the government released N2.5 billion as mobilisation fee to the contractor- ULO Nigeria Limited- just before the firm withdrew its services recently.
He, however, promised to rehabilitate the Airport Runway within six months, adding that he would sanction the contractor for non-performance.He also explained that considering the state’s debt profile of N635 billion, it would ensure that it gradually reduces the debt by servicing every month with N2.9 billion.But a source close to the government said the debt had risen to N735 billion, a development the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) described as shocking.
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