By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”A new ferry boat scheme has been launched in Bayelsa State to ease water transportation in the state.
Performing the ceremony in Yenagoa, Governor Timipre Sylva, said the scheme, a Public Private Partnership initiative marked the commencement of a vibrant marine transportation system in the state.
Inaugurating five of the refurbished boats, the Governor said that the government will improve the marine transportation despite the massive road projects to link many riverine communities in the state.
The Governor announced plans to acquire more ferry boats to ease the transportation problem of residents and movement of goods toÂ and from riverine areas.
Governor Sylva commended the Ministry of Works and Transport for reviving the governmentâ€“owned transport scheme at an affordable fare to the people.
He also announced plans by the government to create new 10,000 jobs in theÂ civil service as a result of the new openings after the completion of the staff Biometric verification exercise, whichÂ identified some ghost workers in the system.
â€œPeople have been saying that I have sacked a lot of Bayelsans from work. But we cannot continue like this, where some people cheat on the system by having multiple employment. The biometric has opened up new opportunities and in a couple of months, we will employ more people. That is the gain of the exerciseâ€, Sylva stated.
The governor also said plans were on to alleviate poverty in the state.
â€œ One woman was said to have complained that even though there has been improvement in the power situation but nothing to cook with the electricity. We have spoken to some of our brother governors, particularly Benue State on the supply of food items to Bayelsa State.
We have discovered that the cost of food is high in the state because of the transportation difficulties, but our arrangement with those states would be to get yams and other food items at a cheaper rates and we will flood the market with them to enable our people buy at affordable ratesâ€, he stated.
In an address of welcome, the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr. Emmanuel Frank_Opigo, said the private partner would be expected to refurbish the twelve boats and a barge acquired by the previous administration in 2003 with a six months trial period.
He stated that the available ferry boats, whose capacities had been boosted with higher horsepower engines, would be deployed to some designated routes in the three senatorial districts.
Also speaking, the Director, Public Private Partnership Bureau, Mr. Aiye Dikuro, said the scheme was purely a partnership arrangement with no heavy financial burden on the government.