DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has said contracts for the execution of projects will be awarded based on availability of funds.
The governor in no-holds-barred town hall meetings held at Ozoro and Oleh Isoko North and South local government areas, respectively, of Delta State, disclosed that his administration was committed to delivering infrastructure that will stand the test of time.
According to the governor, “ there has been a lot of destruction of our pipelines and resources to our state is limited, we cannot award contracts when we don’t have the capacity of paying, it will be wrong for us to award contract and contractors will be borrowing money to execute the projects and at the end of the day, some will commit suicide because of their inability to pay their debts to their bankers.”
While disclosing that most of the projects his administration had executed throughout the state were as a result of proper planning culminating in the phasing of payments to the contractors, Governor Okowa assured Deltans that his administration would continue to ensure prudent management of funds to the benefits of the people.
The governor, who stated that since early 2016, large quantity of crude oil had not been lifted from the state as a result of the destruction of the Forcados Export Trunkline, observed that the economic recession that rocked the country, also affected revenue accruing to the state government.
“The prices of oil went down and unfortunately, it is the main revenue earner for Nigeria including Delta State, so, with such, our revenue went down; apart from the revenue going down, starting from February 2016, half of the oil production in Delta State has not been exported because of the destruction of pipelines but, by the grace of God, the Forcados Trunkline will come on stream in the next few weeks which will bring about more funds to the state and we will have to also assist the local government councils,” he said.
He observed that the issue of payment of salaries of local government staff and primary school teachers was a great challenge because, the allocation to that tier of government could not pay their salaries.
The governor stated that his administration had consistently paid salaries of workers.
Governor Okowa reiterated that funds from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) goes straight to the local government councils, expressing the hope that the situation would improve once the Forcados Trunkline was fixed in the next couple of weeks.
The governor stated that the town hall meeting was in line with his electoral promise of partnering with the people, giving the people the opportunity to contribute to government and allowing them the freedom to express themselves to enable him be guided in engaging in what the people want.
On the issue of herdsmen menace, Governor Okowa re-echoed his call on the Federal Government to formulate policy on the issue, and called on Deltans to be cautious as his administration was tackling the issue in conjunction with security operatives.
On the issue of power raised by the Isoko nation, Governor Okowa stated that constant power supply is very necessary for speedy economic growth, assuring that his administration would work with relevant stakeholders to boost electricity supply to Isoko nation.
The town hall meetings were attended by top political office holders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, market women, trade unions, youths organisations, among others.