By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”DELTA State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said the state government will, in the next few weeks, flush out staff of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), who collect salaries at the end of the month without doing any job.
Dr. Uduaghan, who stated this at a meeting with the board, management and chairman of the commission, Chief Wellington Okirika yesterday in Warri, however, allayed the fear that the government planned to dissolve the board.
His words:Â â€œWe are aware that the staffing position of DESOPADEC had been a problem, I am putting up a structure that will look into the staff, those that are really required to run the outfit properly and those that are not required, we found that the place is over bloated with staff, staff that really donâ€™t have any job function.
â€œWe have no business keeping such persons, and so in the next few weeks, we are looking into the staffing position and those that do not have jobs to do, those that are just there collecting salaries we have to find a way of easing them out, and it is only those staff that are necessary for the outfit to function properly that the outfit will keep.
So that all the extra monies we have been using to pay salaries we can use such money for capital projectâ€.
According to him, â€œI thought I should explain this so that people are not taken unawares. In the last few weeks, l have had to hold regular meetings with the chairman and members of the board and this is with a view to ensuring that DESOPADEC is properly positioned to develop the oil producing communities. We know that for about two years now, we had to ensure that this commission runs properly.
â€œHowever, there have been challenges, and some of these challenges, we are trying to deal with at this moment. But let me once more emphasize that the board of DESOPADEC is intact. We are not contemplating dissolving it, and we have no reason to dissolve it, and except something else happens this board will run its full term.
â€œI need to say this so that people do not unnecessarily raise the political tension and people do not scheme to try and take over the board. The board, as it is today, is properly constituted and will remain so until it runs its full term.
â€œLike I said, we had some challenges in the state in the last few weeks, mainly in the area of peace and security. We all know that DESOPADEC is a very strategic outfit on our three-point agenda of peace and security, infrastructure development and human capital development and we have tried to position DESOPADEC for us to be able to meet this three- point agenda the way we want it, and I must also say that the commission has done its bit, especially in the area of peace and security.
â€œHaving analyzed the last two years, we believe that we need to do a few things to properly position the commission.Â First, we have looked at the issue of the funds and I have directed last week that whatever outstanding salaries must be paid within this week and next week and I believe the commission has started the process of the payment of salaries”.
â€œSecondly, I have also directed that all certified contracts, that is, all contracts that are ongoing and have certificate they have to be paid, and I know that the process are on for the payments to start today and I want to use this medium to appeal to every contractor that they should be rest assured that those who have done their jobs properly and have certificates that are genuine, we will definitely pay themâ€, he added.
He said, â€œAm also aware that there are some issues with accommodation,Â especially with hoteliers, let me appeal to them to also be patient, we are also making sure that every debt that is being owed to hotels will be paid after appropriate verification of those debts, we will pay the debts owed to the hotels.
Part of our strategic move is to trim down the area of overhead expenditure and in so doing, we will also generally trim down the recurrent expenditure of the outfit so that we have enough money on the capital side to be able to develop our various communitiesâ€.
â€œAnd in the area of capital projects, we have also completed the budget procedure, which we have sent to the House to go through and approve and send back to us. But emphases is being laid on ongoing projects because we have a lot of ongoing projects that we need to budget for this year, so most of the budgeting will be for ongoing projects, which we hope will be quickly completed within this year especially, as we are about paying for certificate contractors to mobilize back to site that couldnâ€™t complete their projects so that we can pay whatever is outstanding.
â€œI know there are some areas that people are worried about; two areas I want to mention specifically are the area of micro credit scheme.
Let me emphasise that we are still going ahead with our micro credit scheme, but this time properly managed. Money is given to cooperatives and we expect that returns will be made, and for those cooperative who have been approved to receive money and have not done so, let them be patient with us and in the next few weeks, we shall make disbursements to those cooperatives.
â€œSecondly, on the area of overseas scholarship, am aware that we have been trying to award overseas scholarship, the process is ongoing, some members of the commission have gone to find out exactly what is on ground, am expecting reports from them, but let me assure all those who have attended the interview that we are here to protect you, we are here to protect your future and if we find that your future is not adequately protected, we shall not throw you to the dogs.
â€œWhile we support post- graduate training and scholarship, we will ensure that people get value for the money we are spending on the project. So, this is to assure those who are entitled to overseas training that we are not cancelling the programme, we will definitely continue with it, but we will continue in such a way that the will be beneficial to the individual and it will be beneficial to the state and it will be beneficial to the societyâ€, he explained.