Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has said that his administration will avoid awarding contracts to contractors without funding them. He said this is in order to avoid a situation in the past where some contractors would commit suicide for not being able to repay the loans they borrowed from banks to finance state projects.
Governor Okowa also pledged that his administration will manage the state’s public funds prudently and ensure that workers salaries are not owed them.
The Governor who gave the statement at a town hall meeting also said that contracts for the execution of projects would be awarded based on the availability of funds, reiterating his administration’s commitment to delivering infrastructure that would stand the test of time.
“There has been a lot of destruction of our pipelines and resources to our state is limited, we cannot award contracts when we don’t have the capacity of paying.
“It will be wrong for us to award contract and contractors will be borrowing money to execute the projects and at the end of the day, some will commit suicide because of their inability to pay their debts to their bankers,” the governor stressed.
He noted that his administration was able to execute many projects across the state due to proper planning of payments to contractors, assuring the people that his administration would continue to ensure prudent management of funds.
Dr. Okowa who noted that since early 2016, a large quantity of crude oil has not been lifted from Delta State as a result of the destruction of the Forcados Export Trunkline, observed that the economic recession that rocked the country also affected revenue accruing to the state government.
“The prices of oil went down and unfortunately, it is the main revenue earner for Nigeria including Delta State. So, with such, our revenue went down.
“Apart from the revenue going down, starting from February 2016, half of the oil production in Delta State has not been exported because of the destruction of pipelines.
“But by the grace of God, the Forcados Trunkline will come on stream in the next few weeks, which will bring about more funds to the state and we will have to also assist the local government councils,” he said.
The governor noted that the issue of payment of salaries of local government staff and primary school teachers was a great challenge because the allocation to that tier of government could not pay their salaries, but said his administration had consistently paid salaries of workers.
He explained that the town hall meeting was in line with his electoral promise of partnering with the people, giving them the opportunity to contribute to government, and allowing them the freedom to express themselves so as to guide him in engaging in what they want.