Govt to address ecological problems in S’East

| January 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Decries slow pace of NDDC projects in Imo

THE Federal Government has expressed commitment to addressing the ecological problems in the South-Eastern part of the country.

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who stated this Monday in Owerr?, the Imo State capital, when he led the National Good Governance Tour team on a visit to Governor Rochas Okorocha, observed that the Federal Government, through the ecological fund, was handling some erosion projects in the South East.

He added that the problem, if not well addressed, would affect Nigeria’s development, stating: “We are doing a lot of erosion projects in the South East but we can never do enough. The environment is no respecter of anyone. The environment must be maintained.”

Maku, who noted that the problems could not be handled by the government alone, stressed the need for states and international agencies to collaborate with the Federal Government to tackle the problem. The minister observed that democracy is about the welfare of the citizens.

He told Okorocha that even though there might be differences in our political ideolog?es and party aff?l?at?ons, the overall goal is to provide good governance.

Maku, who acknowledged a similar tour carried out by former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana in 2001, stated that the present trips he is undertaking with representatives of the media and civil society, were essentially to ginger partnership development in the three-tiers of government, and showcase them to Nigerians for the interest of democracy. He urged people not to expect grading of states that have performed better than the others in terms of physical development.

“This is different from the 2001 tour. We have decided we will not grade any state, but it will be in the social media. The most important thing in the tour is for peer group mechanism. The purpose is to improve good governance.”

Maku, who was accompanied by Director of Information in National Good Governance Tour, Mr. Sam Ajayi; President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Malam Garba Mohammed; President of the National Council for Women Societies, Nkechi Mba, representatives of media houses, among others, said the tour was planned carefully by the National Planning Commission and Special Adviser to the President on Performance, for democracy and welfare of citizens.

Maku said it was wrong to insinuate that the SURE-P programme was targeted at political affiliations, disclosing that the project and funds from it were distributed to states from the federal level. He urged Nigerians to demand from leaders in their states to account for the funds received.

He disclosed that the Federal Government plans to employ 10,000 youths under the SURE-P programme, noting that about 10 new power plants were currently being built in different parts of the country to boost power supply.

In his response, Okorocha disclosed that Imo State government received between N3.7 billion and N3.8 billion or maximum of N3.9 billion monthly to execute the numerous projects in the state.

While stressing that the state government pays N20,000 minimum wage to civil servants instead in N18,000, with other financial benefits, he noted that education would continue to be free in the state.

According to him, the newly rehabilitated Imo Palm Plantation (former Adapalm Oil Company) has made a profit of about N3.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Maku has expressed displeasure with the delay in the execution of various Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) projects in Imo State despite regular funding from the government.

The projects, which were awarded at total costs of about N400 million in 2004, have been upwardly reviewed over the years to about N1 billion.  

Speaking when he led the National Good Governance Tour team on ?nspect?on of NDDC-sponsored projects at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri; Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, and Imo State University Owerri campuses, he regretted that the government had committed huge funds into various projects over the years, without remarkable progress made at the sites.

He wondered how the 200-room students’ hostel project embarked on by the NDDC at the Federal University of Technology, and another 168-room capacity students’ hostel at Imo State University awarded since 2004, are yet to be completed.

“The delay in execution of projects is not a good story at all, because NDDC has a fairly regular way of funding. What is needed is the management of its priorities. Great initiatives, good projects but poorly executed,” he said.

He also expressed displeasure over the inability of NDDC state officers to give detailed account of funds disbursed to the contractors handling the projects, as he said figures on how public funds were spent should be made available to the public on demand.

Maku directed the contractors to provide the detailed cost of the projects before the town hall meeting today. “We want the cost of this project and how much government has spent on it. These are some of the things that people are worried about.

“Government tied down money since 2004/2005, and students are not using it. This is not a good story at all. It gives us the impression that these projects will be there forever and we will continue to review the cost. This is the essence of the Good Governance Tour.”

Maku, however, demanded that the state NDDC office provide a comprehensive list of the projects completed and the cost of the projects, as he said the many projects approved for NDDC at the Federal Executive Council meetings should be accounted for.

“We need those statistics. It is very important. We want to see the number of those projects completed and on-going,” he added.

Culled from :Here

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Category: Other States News