The Delta State Government, has endorsed plans to boost power supply in Asaba and environs, Delta State Government by approving the development of a 8.5 mega watts Integrated Power Project [IPP] for the Asaba capital territory through Public-Private Partnership, even as the Government has dismissed claims of a rumored mass retrenchment in tertiary institutions, claiming that it had only advised those due for retirement to start preparing for the day when their services would officially come to an end as stipulated by law.
Speaking on 19-4-16, in Asaba, while briefing journalists on the outcome of the State Executive Council Meeting (EXCO) presided over by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the Commissioner For Information, Mr. Parick Ukah flanked by his colleagues, Barrister New-world Safugha [Power], Engr. Jude Sinebe [Higher Education] and Chief James Aguoye [Works], said that EXCO has approved the development of an Integrated Power Plant project in Asaba through public- private partnership with Bastan-Cherry Power Solutions Limited to generate 8.5 mega watts to power government establishments, estates and infrastructure.
Mr Ukah said that the project was in fulfillment of the government’s campaign promises, and would be developed in conjunction with a private investor, Messrs. Bastan Cherry Power Solutions Limited to improve power supply in Asaba and environs, stressing that government would only provide guarantee to utilize the 8.5MVA generated for a period of ten years.
Mr. Safugha, Commissioner For Power, on his part, stated that the project would be delivered in the next nine months, barring any unforeseen obstacles, will be beneficial to Deltans as it would not only generate jobs for the youths but also reduce electricity tariffs paid by government and ensure improved power supply to other areas in the state, as it [power plant] would power government offices, estate and infrastructure, and in turn free the power consumed presently by those institutions to be channeled to other areas that have experienced epileptic or even non-existent power supply in the state capital in the past.
Mr. Ukah also affirmed that other decisions reached by the Delta Exco included the appointment of Messrs. ZOPAC Consulting Limited to provide Revenue Cycle Management and Consultancy Services [RCMCS] to the state government; the Public Private Partnership for hostel development in the state owned tertiary institutions; the Construction/Rehabilitation of the 5.12km Edgborode –Elume Road and the Kwale Township Roads and Drainage in Sapele and Ndokwa West Local Government areas respectively and the infrastructural development and supply of furniture to some selected schools in the state.
While noting that the appointment of Messers Zopac Consulting Limited to provide Revenue Cycle Management and Consultancy Services (RCMCS) would help government block loopholes existing in revenue collection in the state and generate enough money for governance, Mr. Ukah was quick to confirm that the appointment of Revenue consultants would not conflict with the functions of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, which, according to him was the statutory Board set up by Government to handle all revenue issues.
Answering questions on the alleged retirement of staff of tertiary institutions in the state, Engr. Sinebe, Commissioner for Higher Education, explained that his Ministry only asked those who have attained the official retirement age to commence preparations to proceed on retirement, stating that the circular they relied on to stay beyond the stipulated retirement age had not been domesticated in the state as it has to pass through the House of Assembly for approval.
He revealed that the process for its revalidation and domestication in the state was on going, but lamented that there were several administrative and academic issues in the tertiary institutions, especially in the areas of promotions and remunerations, which require drastic and radical measures to address in order to bring some sanity and order to the processes and ensure that tertiary institutions in the state are properly managed and equipped with adequate personnel, structures and facilities once they get certification from the necessary regulatory authorities.
Responding to a recent demonstration by local vigilantes in Asaba, who had blocked the Onitsha/Benin expressway in protest over the menace and fatal results of the activities of Fulani Herdsmen in Delta State, Mr. Ukah noted that it was a security issue which the Federal Government was tackling robustly and while calling for a more critical and objective reappraisal of the Grazing Bill which is presently before the National Assembly, pleaded with Nigerians to be calm, patient and law abiding under the present circumstances, even as he expressed optimism that the matter would soon be resolved to the satisfaction of all Nigerians.