Champion Newspapers Limited
For a better society

I inherited N225.279bn debt on projects from Wike –Fubara

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

.Awards 9 new road contracts worth N534.332bn.

41
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt

 

 

Sir Siminalayi Fubara, on Wednesday presented an Account of Stewardship and Scorecard of his administration to mark the anniversary of his one year in office as governor of Rivers State.

Fubara, in his presentation at the Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt, disclosed that under his watch as governor, the Rivers State Government has awarded nine new road projects, valued at N534.332 billion.

The Governor also revealed that his administration inherited 34 uncompleted projects, valued at over N225.279billion spread across 13 local government areas of the State.

This is even as he regretted the political crisis that was waged against his administration, barely three months after take off on May 29, 2023.

The Governor, however, said that the worst was over because his administration has successfully defended the rights and privileges to govern the State and advance its progress in liberty and freedom without compromise.

He said: “We started this journey with a bang. We were focused. We were determined to make the change we promised with a sense of urgency.

“But then, somehow, we suddenly found ourselves in the cesspit of crisis barely three months into our tenure. It was not just an ordinary political crisis. It was a vicious existential crisis.

“But thank goodness, the worst is over. We have successfully defended our rights and opportunity to govern our State and advance its progress in freedom, and we will continue to prevail.”

Governor Fubara stated that since then, a lot has changed in the political landscape, adding that he remains committed to the covenant taken a year ago to put Rivers State first, defend her interest, and ensure that the people get the dividends of democracy and good governance.

He said, “For us, any government worth its name must be accountable, responsive, and responsible for the security and well-being of the people.

“Having managed the affairs of our State for one year, including dispensing public resources, it is only proper that we render account with a public presentation of our performance record.

“I am, therefore, pleased to stand before you to present our Scorecard for the first year we have been in office as the executive arm of the government of Rivers State.”

The Governor reiterated his promise to deliver on the core priorities of economic growth, infrastructure, healthcare, education, and agriculture, as contained in his blueprint as a resolve to building a virile, resilient, and progressive State that caters to the needs of the people.

The Governor said, he was proud to report that, despite the unprecedented challenges, his first one year in office has witnessed significant achievements visible to everybody.

Governor Fubara revealed that he inherited a State, whose economy was on a declining trajectory despite its growth potentials, but within one year of his administration, the negative narrative has changed for the better, revealing that he set up an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)/Investment Advisory Committee that he chairs to coordinate activities in the sector that has increased inflow of economic investments to the State.

“We also needed to attract investments into the State and increase our internally generated revenue base as too much reliance on federal allocations was a challenge to the realisation of our development goals.

“Our liberalised business-friendly economic policies and programmes are boosting confidence and attracting local and international investors and investments into the State, judging by the expression of interest offers we receive every month.

“We have kept our taxes low, frozen the imposing of taxes on small businesses across the State, and increased the ease of doing business in the State by eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks. No request for the signing of a certificate of occupancy remains in my office beyond two days, except if I am otherwise engaged beyond two days or out of town.”

Governor Fubara also said: “One year down the line, and we believe we are succeeding. Our internally generated revenue witnessed an astronomical increase from N12billion to between N17billion in off-peak periods and N28billion during the peak months.

“We have established a N4billion matching fund with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to support existing and new micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) to grow their businesses to drive economic growth and create jobs and wealth for citizens. Over 3,000 citizens and residents have applied to access this loan to fund their businesses at a single-digit interest rate, and a repayment period of up to five years.”

Governor Fubara expressed his belief in using infrastructure as key to sustainable development, which was why, he explained, he did not abandon the 34 uncompleted projects that he inherited, valued at over N225.279billion spread across 13 local government areas of the State.

The Governor also said that 12 of those projects have been completed and put to use while construction work is ongoing on the others, with nine new road projects initiated by his administration valued at N534.332billion.

Governor Fubara stated that except the Port Harcourt Ring Road project that is funded with loan, other ambitious projects of his administration such as the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road, Okania-Ogbogoro Road and the Trans-Kalabari Road are funded from accumulated IGR and federal allocations savings.

He explained, “I wish to emphasize that with a combined cost of N528.6billion, the 50.15 kilometres Port Harcourt dual-carriage Ring Road, the dualisation of Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road and the Trans-Kalabari Road projects are three most ambitious road projects ever carried out by any Governor in Rivers State.

“The 50.15 kilometres Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Ring Road, with six flyovers, one river crossing, walkways, drains, streetlights, and spanning six local government areas, was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc at a total cost of N195.3billion for a 36-month completion period.

“The speed with which the project is advancing shows that this administration is in a hurry to deliver this project even before the due date with the 77 per cent down payment of N150billion to the contractor. Presently, work on the project is progressing satisfactorily from six different locations.

“The 33.5-kilometre Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road was awarded on the 26th of March, 2024 at a total cost of N80.886billion to Craneburge Construction Company with a down payment of 50 per cent of the contract sum and 24-month completion timeline. The contractor has since commenced work on this project.”

Governor Fubara said so much has been achieved in the health sector with Rivers State Emergency Ambulance Service resuscitated, facilities upgraded at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, 1,000 medical personnel employed, and 35 primary healthcare centres empowered to function maximally.

The Governor assured that his administration was committed to economic diversification through agriculture, stressing that efforts are at top-gear to attract serious investors to take over and revive all state-owned farms and agricultural assets.

The purpose, he emphasised, is to harness the huge agricultural potential of the State to enhance food security, grow the economy, create jobs and generate revenue for the government and stakeholders.

He said, “In addition, we have concluded plans to engage our youths in profitable agriculture, and applied to participate in the second phase of the Special Agro-processing Zones project of the African Development Bank, and all other agriculture development schemes of the Federal Government.”

In the education sector, Governor Fubara explained that he inherited several uncompleted secondary schools’ reconstruction and other projects.

Among other efforts made, Governor Fubara said: “On assumption of office, we quickly released funds to complete these schools and deliver them for public use.

“To this end, we made final payments of N701,943,233,05 for the completion and delivery of Community Secondary School, Rumuepirikom; N355,682,471.99 for Kalabari National College; N329,330,552.25 for Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borokiri; N379,793,277.60 for Government Secondary School, Eneka; N461,973,829.38 for Government Secondary School, Emohua; N134,600,000.00 for Comprehensive Secondary School, Alesa–Eleme; N1,142,279,618.17 for Community Secondary School, Koroma, Tai; N1,863,213,093.13 for Government Comprehensive School, Okarki; N585,084,678.80 for Government Secondary School, Ataba; and N2,092,313,561.19 for Government Girls Secondary School, Ahoada.

“We also released N193,785,313.00 for the reconstruction of Community Secondary School, Kunusha, N1,500,000,000.00 for the reconstruction of Okrika Grammar School; N612,632,677.94 for the furnishing of the University of Port Harcourt Convocation Arena; and N700,000,000.00 for the twin hostel projects at the Yenagoa campus of the Nigerian Law School.

“We released N1,902,334,833.33 as matching funds for the Universal Basic Education Board for the provision of infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of basic education schools.

“It is noteworthy that the State’s Universal Basic Education Board has used funds released to rehabilitate over 50 basic education schools across the State,” he added.

He listed other projects and programmes undertaken by the administration across various sectors as well as the financial commitments made to ensure quality projects delivery within specifications and timelines.

Governor Fubara said the payment of salary to civil servants has been sustained, adding that an engineering firm has been engaged to do structural assessment of what can be done to give the Rivers State Secretariat Complex a facelift.

Speaking at the event as the Chairman of the occasion, former representative of Rivers East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator John Azuta Mbata, said the essence of democracy and sovereignty is for leaders to serve the people, be responsible to them and work to improve their well-being.

Senator Mbata stated that Governor Fubara has distinguished himself as a servant-leader whose one year in office is momentous, full of enormous accomplishments, and has such audacity to embark on an unusual phenomenon of reporting back to the people on how he has served them.

The chairman emphasised that Governor Fubara, by conducting himself as answerable to the people, has set a record difficult to match for upholding accountability and democracy, sustaining public trust, and fostering good governance.

In his welcome address, Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), Dr Tammy Danagogo, described Governor Fubara as an eagle leader, who has in the past one year, championed what he called, ‘a quiet and noiseless revolution’ wherein he had worked assiduously, performed excellently and achieved what seemed almost impossible.

He explained that “Such leader flies higher, touches the sky with speed and accuracy at hitting his target without any noise making in solving many societal and human problems that offer succour to the people.”

Comments are closed.