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How Gov. Okowa is confronting the challenges of Recession

How Gov. Okowa is confronting the challenges of Recession

By Prince Victor Efeizomor

Since it is only fit and proper to assess the administration of any democratically elected government based on its campaign promises and manifestos, the attempt to ex-ray the performance of Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State since the past one- and – a- half year, to determine to what extent the socio –economic development activities      of the state government  conforms to its policy goals, would amount to a glance into the successes of the SMART agenda of the administration.

The sectorial    successes recorded so far are evidence of the    Governor Okowa’s    determination to provide prosperity to all Deltains as contained in the SMART agenda, which is all about wealth creation    through growing micro, small , upgrading    infrastructure , modernizing    and deepening agricultural    sector    and establishing agro-based industries.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

These feats are coming against the backdrop of the current economic recession that has engulfed      the nation’s political economy in the second quarter of 2016.

Since then, economic democracy has fallen in nearly all parts of the country, as man’s capacity to survive in the current hash economic reality on a daily bases has become much more difficult.

The negative consequences    of the recession facing      the nations    sustainable economic growth are , a fall in per capital income , high level of unemployment , hunger,    increase in crime wave    and absence of democratic values.

In spite of all these anomalies, Delta State government led by Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa has remained resolute and demonstrated incredible proficiencies in steering the      affairs of the state in the right direction by recording remarkable successes at different levels of governance in the state.

Delta State governor Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa has shown not only transnational initiatives, but also international knack to set Delta state on a high map to battle recession.

Applying some logic in his administration, Governor Okowa has scaled- dawn on administrative cost and a scale -up in prudency and accountability in government.

Okowa’s administration represents    a departure    from the old ways of extravagancy    , the administration    is run on a different governance paradigm that emphasis accountability, prudency, and a masses- centric focus , an inclusive    and participatory spirit which activates the productive capacities    of the people    and their sense    of belongingness.

This understanding        informed    the developmental approach    to governance    by Okowa who placed    a premium    on improving    on human capital development and strengthening    of    the infrastructural bases    to ensure for enabling environment to drive socio-political and economic    development in the state.

Fiscal Space

Amid these national gory economic tales, comes enchanting report that the state internally generated revenue (IGR) realized between June 2015 and September, 2016 was N56, 646,821,063.75 representing a 68.53% performance. This is coming against the background that several large tax paying corporation in the state have either scaled down their operation or in certain cases relocated from the state.

It is interesting to note that the decline in international oil price      affected the statutory allocation accruing to the state from the federation account, dropping to N3 billion, with a staff strength of about 50,000 while the wage bill averages N5.5 billion monthly even when its battling to check the menaces of large scale    of ghost workers with    biometric scheme in the state.

Interestedly, Governor Okowa has remained committed to the payment of staff salaries as and when due in the mist of the dark cloud of recession.

Since assuming office,    Okowa    has defied all the challenges of a recessed economy to post a monthly IGR collection     from N3.2 billion to N3.4 billion and he is deploying new strategies    and initiatives towards    realizing a monthly revenue target    of about N7 billion.

Commissioner for Finance , Mr. David Edevbie while briefing the press recently    remarked    that “ the state during the period    under review    received    a total    of N135, 837,642,528.40 as gross statutory    allocation , value added tax (VAT), derivation revenue and other capital    receipts from the federation  account    compared with the proportionate    budget estimate    of N198, 054,151,136.67, which    indicates a performance    of 68.59% .

“the state government is committed to paying the monthly salaries    of civil servants and other workers as well as pensioners as regularly    as possible    in line with    the policy    of timely and effective services delivery    to the people” , adding that “ on investment, the state has always invested in a number    of quoted and unquoted companies , which currently    have a market    value    of N9,675,990,140 comprised    of N1,387,349,340.25, and N8,288,640,800 for quoted and unquoted    companies    respectively . This yielded dividends of N295, 701,047 within the period under review”.

A statement from the commissioner for economic planning, Dr. Kingsley Emu, compliments his finance counterpart when he      said, “we shall continue to ensure that funds are allocated to programmes and projects that impact on good governance. We shall continue to observe basic principles of prudent management of public funds and strict adherence to due process and be consistent with our vision of maintaining strict fiscal discipline”, adding that over 17,173 private sector jobs have been created under the job creation scheme.

Infrastructure

In line    with the realization    that road development    and construction is the backbone    for the achievement    of the SMART agenda , Governor Okowa , through the ministry of works embarked on the construction no less than      of seventy-one road projects      between May 2015    and November 2016 covering    a distance of    over 282 kilometers of reads    and 138 thousand    kilometers    of concrete –lined drains. The value of projects currently being handled by the state government, including those inherited from the previous administration, is put at about N110 billion. This covers about 381 kilometers of roads.

The state government has equally embarked on urban renewal by working on several roads in key towns and cities across the state. In this regards, a number of roads have been maintained, rehabilitated, reconstructed, or newly constructed. These includes    the 7.1 kilometer    dualization    of Nnebisis    road ( from traffic light junction    to cable    point) Asaba, dualization    of Sapele road from Amukpe    to AT & P and the reconstruction    of old Oleh /Emede/ Olomoro road , Oleh    among others.  The governmet has also embarked on the rehabilitation of the Asaba Airport runway and taxiway.

Agriculture

Okowa’s administration has put in place adequate plans to ensure food security through the empowerment of the existing farmers and encouraging new entrants into agriculture through the oil palm development programme. Through this programme, 220,000 improved oil palm seedlings are being raised for distribution to farmer. This scheme is expected to empower 250 oil palm farmers, create 100 regular jobs and 300 seasonal jobs. Equally, the state government has expended the sum of N115 million for the establishment of oil palm nursery site , located at Ejeme Unor and    construction of 5 mini oil mills , to be distributed to farmers.

The state government has also approved the sum of N51 million to promote all season rice farming in the state , while 45.3 million has been set aside    for the fisheries    subsector as 5,000 youths    have engaged themselves in aquaculture, cluster    fish farms.

Also, the state government has keyed into the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme just as 4,000 farmers have been accredited and approved by CBN to participate in the first phase of the scheme while 30,000 farmers have been registered across the selected enterprise of cassava, oil palm, rice and fisheries.

The state government has also expended the sum of N5 million development of grass cutter and goat production as it’s a major viable, profitable and sustainable source of income and to meet the protein needs of the state.

Prior to the inception of the Okowa led administration, agricultural extension services was at its lowest  ebb in the state. So far, the sum of N35.9 million has been set aside      by the state      government for re-invigorate the state agricultural development programme (ADP).

Well Being

Governor Okowa  understands that      strategic and purposeful good healthcare system is at the heart of any development agenda, hence the wisdom in giving the health sector a priority    attention in the scheme of things in the state. Little wonder the state government swung into action on assumption of office      with the    total renovation, equipping , furnishing, purchase of brand new ambulance , and upgrading of cottage hospital , Abavo to the full status of an ultra modern standard general hospital.

Governor Okowa also embarked on the remodeling /rehabilitation    of the renal dialysis building    at the central  hospital , Warri, renovation    and reequipping    of children’s ward    at the general    hospital , Patani, procurement of 9 oxygen    concentrators    spread across the three senatorial districts of the state, restructuring    of Delta state emergency services    and payment    of all outstanding commitments , purchase of medical /laboratory  equipment    and infrastrural repair to meet  accreditation    requirement in college of health technology , Ofuoma, Ughelli.

The state government    also embarked on the    construction of ultra- modern 400m/daymbr    sewage treatment plant at DELSUTH Oghara, renovation    and re-modification    of central hospital in Agbor , just to mention    but a few

In Delta State, maternal mortality ratio has declined, a reflection of the success of the free maternal      and free under -5 healthcare      programmes which Okowa’s administration    has    continued to implement in spite of the limited resources at this time.

Knowledge

The challenge of ensuring for    a quality education is one of the preoccupation    of Governor Okowa since assumption of office. It’s for this reason that the governor    has developed    a plan to give adequate attention to basic, secondary and tertiary education in the state with emphasis on technical and vocational education.

To this end, Okowa has excuted the flowing project; the    completion of  the faculty of law at DELSU , Oleh campus, completion    of health clinic in DELSU . On going projects at DELSU are ; the construction of lecture theater at the faculty of engineering , senate/administration building, construction of standard library complex , construction of workshop\laboratory at the faculty of engineering    among other projects.

Governor Okowa has also strengthened the state bursary and scholarship    board charged with the responsibility of offering opportunities to students to access the state government financial support services which include , student’s special assistance scheme , scholarship to local , overseas/external students, first class scholarship, physically challenged    students and    children of deceased civil servants.

Governor Okowa has also taken steps to reposition technical and vocational education in the state with the transmission of an executive bill    to DTHA for the law establishing    the technical    and vocational    education board just as the upgrade of the Agbor,Ofagbe , Sapele Issele – uku , Ogor and Utagba-Ogbe technical colleges are still ongoing.

Conclusion

Delta State  economic  outlook    remains positive    because    it has adequate    room    to maneuver in both the    external    and fiscal sector , plus an abundance of material    and human    resources.      The sufficient condition for    it to convert    the challenges    of recession to a base    for turnaround    and phenomenal prosperity    is for all stakeholders to be committed    to productive work , driven    by an attitude of optimism    and confidence as envision in the leadership of Governor Okowa .

(Prince Victor Efeizomor is Print Media Assistant to Gov. Okowa )

The post How Gov. Okowa is confronting the challenges of Recession appeared first on Vanguard News.

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