Quality infrastructure, modest developmental strides in Ebonyi, products of prudent financial management 

David Umahi

GOVERNOR David Umahi has said despite  Ebonyi been among the states that receive the lowest amount from the federal government both in the statutory allocation and other accruable funds, it still maintains quality infrastructure and modest developmental strides.

The Governor, stated this at the Executive Council chamber while addressing a meeting of joint Labour Unions, Academic Unions, Local Governments, Boards and Management of Tertiary institutions as well as other stakeholders in the utilization of the Paris Club fund in the State.
Gov. Umahi who stated that the essence of the meeting was to fulfil his earlier promises of advancing the welfare of the Workers and the Tertiary institutions in the State based on anticipation of the entrance of the second tranche of the Paris Club fund, however, seized the occasion to give an overview of the utilization of the first tranche of N8.385 billion earlier received by the State.
According to Governor Umahi, Ebonyi State has made over N700m as Bank interest accruing to it from fixed deposit transactions with its share of the first tranche of the Paris Club refund from the Federal Government.
According to him, the fund was effectively spent in settlement of accumulated pensions and gratuities of workers, workers leave Allowances, promotions and other benefits.
He also added that the huge interest accruing to the State from fixing the fund formed part of the N4 billion set aside as Agricultural loans to Civil Servants in the State.
Stressing that it has been the policy of his Government that any money not meant for immediate use would be fixed with the banks to yield interests for the State rather than lying dormant and added that the State has made over N3 billion from fixed deposits within the last three years.
Umahi Said: “Let me say that the first tranche of the Paris Club, we got N8.385 billion “And when we get this money, we have to leave it in the Bank for the State Assembly to appropriate.
So, within the period that it was in the bank, we received interest of about N700 million into the Paris Club…
And our policy here is that any money that will stay more than 24 hours in the Bank, must be fixed and I can tell you that we have gotten over N3 billion within this three years in such arrangement.
 The Governor, during the event, distributed the sum of N7.662 billion, being the 60 per cent of the second tranche of Paris Club fund so far released by the Federal Government, after all, deductions.
The money was appropriated towards further advancement of the welfare of the tertiary institutions and the Labour in the State both at the State and local government levels.
While the Ebonyi State University and the State College of education were allocated N1.1 billion, respectively, the workers under the umbrella of the State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress received N1.562 billion.
Both the State School of Health Technology, Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government and the State College of Nursing in Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government received N300 million each etc.
Addressing the recipients, Umahi admonished them to effectively order their priorities in the utilization of the funds, knowing full well that the Government cannot go beyond its capabilities to underwrite all their demands.
He suggested the application of the money to institute, consolidate the Contributory pension scheme or the National Health Insurance Scheme for the Workers and Staff of the tertiary institutions, adding that such would help the scheme gain impetus as it was obvious that both the State and the workers seemed to have lacked the ability to fulfil their parts of the bargain.
He called on the Ebonyi State University and the College of Education to find ways of increasing their Internally Generated revenues to augment Government Subvention, without increasing their School fees, warning that strike actions have proven to be counterproductive.
Speaking on behalf of their Managements, the Pro-Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, Ambassador Franklin Ogbuewu and the Chairman of Board, Ebonyi State College of Education, Fidelis Nwankwo, appreciated the Governor for the gesture.
They assured the Governor that the Institutions would not embark on any strike action as both their Staff and Management have developed a better understanding.
Ogbuewu, however, appealed to the Governor to allow the University to exercise its autonomy in certain matters affecting them, including the utilization of their property as they desire.
Others who spoke, including Ikechukwu Igwenyi for the EBSU Academic Staff Union and Comrade Leonard Nka for the NLC, State Chapter expressed satisfaction with the distribution of the fund and assured the Governor of their continued diligence to duty.
The Meeting was also attended by the Vice Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, Professor Chigozie Ogbu; the provost of Ebonyi College of Education, Professor Silas Omebe, NULGE, TUC, NUJ, RATTAWU as well as the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Ebonyi State Branch, led by the Council Chairman of Ohaozara Local Government area, Mrs Nkechinyere Iyioku.
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