NO.DTS 0968: PARIS CLUB REFUND, NOT A FAVOUR TO STATE GOVT – EDEVBIE…SAYS DELTA STATE WAS AN ACCIDENTAL BENEFICIARY OF BAILOUT FUND …ADVOCATES REVIEW OF FEDERAL ALLOCATION FORMULA
NO.DTS 0969: EMU BLAMES NIGER DELTA CRISES, MONO ECONOMY, FALL IN OIL PRICES, FOR POOR FUNDING OF 2017 BUDGET
NO.DTS 0970: DTSG APPROVES 33KVA LINES FOR DBS ASABA, UBULU-UKU TRANSMISSION STATION
NO.DTS 0971: DSTG COMMITTED TO CONSTRUCTING SCHOOLS WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED – EBIE
NO.DTS 0972: OKOWA TAKES ROAD PROJECTS TO MORE RURAL COMMUNITIES…COMMISSIONS KWALE/OGUME/AMAI/OBIARUKU, UDUOPHORI ROADS, OTHERS
NO.DTS 0973: AGRICULTURE HOLDS THE KEY TO NIGERIA’S GROWTH – GOV. OKOWA
NO.DTS 0974: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CBN ANCHOR BORROWERS’ SCHEME TO IMPROVE OIL PALM PRODUCTION, CHIKEZIE TELLS OIL PALM FARMERS
NO.DTS 0975: DSTG FLAGS-OFF DISTRIBUTION OF IMPROVE VARIETY OF CASSAVA CUTTINGS TO CASSAVA FARMERS
NO.DTS 0976: RECESSION: REMAIN STEADFAST, FOCUS, PRAYERFUL – OGIDI-GBEGBAJE TELLS YOUTHS
EDITOR: OYOWE CHURCHILL
NO.DTS 0968: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
PARIS CLUB REFUND, NOT A FAVOUR TO STATE GOVT – EDEVBIE
…SAYS DELTA STATE WAS AN ACCIDENTAL BENEFICIARY OF BAILOUT FUND
…ADVOCATES REVIEW OF FEDERAL ALLOCATION FORMULA
The State Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie, has explained that the Paris Club refund was not a favour being done to state by the Federal Government.
Olorogun Edevbie stated this today at a post budget presentation press briefing, coordinated by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, at the Press Unit, Government House, Asaba.
The Finance Commissioner noted that the refund was the over deduction the Federal Government made to the Paris Club beginning from 1995, saying interest ought to have been paid for it.
Explaining further the misnomer in the deduction, he said the Federal Government used the fund meant for the three tiers of government to pay for debt owed by the federal government, disclosing that N33 billion had so far been released in tranches.
He said that while the first tranche was N14.5 billion, the seconded one amounted to N8 billion and the third N10 billion, indicating that out of the N33, billion, the sum of N7 billion was for Local Government Councils while N12.6 billion was spent on salary and N14 billion went to capital expenditure.
On whether the President of the Country, Muhammadu Buhari directed the State Governors on how to spend the Paris Club refund, Olorogun Edevbie said there was no such directive, explaining that constitutionally, the President had no such power to issue directive on how States should spend their funds.
He said that some of the money from the refund had to go capital expenditure to cater for the interest of Deltans that were not in the payroll of the State Government.
Giving a performance breakdown of the 2017 Budget breakdown, the Finance Commissioner said that N58 billion was spent on addressing salary and pension issues while N42 billion went to capital project.
On insinuations that the country had come out of recession, he said the indicators that the country experienced 0.55 positive growth in the fifth quarter of recession supported the claim.
He however noted, “We are not yet feeling the claim that we are out of recession. It will take a while, just as it took some time before we entered recession.”
On the bailout fund, Olorogun David Edevbie said Delta State was an accidental beneficiary.
He said Delta State benefitted because the recession affected adversely most of the All Progressive Congress (APC) States, noting that there was no way the Federal Government could have given bailout to the APC States alone.
He emphasized that the bailout fund was a loan but to be paid back at very friendly terms, saying that out of N10 billion the State received, the sum of N3.26 billion went to Local Government Council, while N2 billion was expended in addressing pension arrears, N2 billion for primary school teachers’ salary and N3.5 billion for salary of State Government workers.
Addressing issues on why virtually all states are complaining of lack of funds and the local government council not able to perform their statutory roles, the Finance Commissioner blamed the cause on the Federal Government, noting that too much money was going to the centre.
He said the Federal Government was reluctant to initiate a review of the federal allocation formula because it does not want the present status-quo to change.
According to Olorogun Edevbie, review of the formula ought to take place every three years but lamented that the last time a review was done was in 1992.
He said the inability of the Federal Government to address issue bordering on fiscal federalism and resource control was largely responsible for the recurrent agitations for restructuring in the country.
NO.DTS 0969: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
EMU BLAMES NIGER DELTA CRISES, MONO ECONOMY, FALL IN OIL PRICES, FOR POOR FUNDING OF 2017 BUDGET
The poor funding of the 2017 Budget in the State has been attributed to the fall in prices of oil, Crises in the Niger Delta and the mono economy of the Country.
The State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Kingsley Emu disclosed this today at a post budget presentation press briefing, coordinated by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, at the Press Unit, Government House, Asaba.
Dr Emu said that the three-prong factors adversely affected the 2017 budget when it was being prepared in 2016, saying the prices of oil was stagnated at less than $30 per barrel for a long time, coupled with the raging activities of vandals and militants fighting for a better deal in the Niger Delta.
He however expressed joy that the micro economic outlook globally had changed in the last two months, saying the sub sahara region, notably Nigeria and Angola would be key to the success of the 2.6 percent growth predicting increase in revenue earnings.
The Commissioner stated that from the 2017 budget performance, which he put at 57.5 percent, issues of job creation and micro credit financing had been address, noting that the outlook for the 2018 budget was positive.
According to the Economic Planning Commissioner, from the N298 billion proposed budget, the 49.4 percent would be devoted to recurrent expenditure while 50.9 percent would cater for capital expenditure.
He said because the State Government had done a lot of projects that thrived on goodwill, it hoped to reflate the system with payments in 2018.
While stating that the State Government would embark on less borrowing, the Commissioner clarified that Delta State was among the three least indebted states in the country citing the latest publication from the Debt Management Office (DMO).
NO.DTS 0970: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
DTSG APPROVES 33 KVA LINES FOR DBS ASABA, UBULU-UKU TRANSMISSION STATION
The State Government has approved the execution of 33 KVA Lines for both DBS Asaba and its Ubulu-Uku transmission station.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, disclosed this today at a post budget presentation press briefing at the Press Unit, Government House, Asaba.
Mr Ukah said the approval was meant to address the perennial power challenge being face by the station and its transmission outfit in Ubulu-Uku and the need to be fully prepared for the digitization programme.
The Commissioner said once the power challenge was addressed, the DBS Asaba would be empowered to operate 24 hours broadcast with regular programming.
In addition, the Information Commissioner revealed that some equipment had been purchased for the station, including a 150 KVA Generating set.
The clarified that the essence of the purchases was put the DBS Studios’ in good stead for the digitization programme, which he said would enable the Stations in Asaba and Warri to be on a network.
Mr Ukah also disclosed that the government entered into negotiation with the National Broadcasting Commission to reschedule the debt owed it by both the DBS Asaba and Warri station, which he said amounted to N45 million.
He advised Deltans to view the DBS stations on Startimes channels, saying those who were not on Startimes could also view the station on the terrestrial platform via their outdoor pole and antenna.
NO.DTS 0971: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
DSTG COMMITTED TO CONSTRUCTING SCHOOLS WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED – EBIE
Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie has said lack of land is hampering construction of new schools to cater for the need of people within the capital territory.
Mr Ebie made the disclosure during a press briefing for the breakdown of the 2018 budget which was presented recently to the Delta State House of Assembly. According to the Commissioner, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration was committed to constructing new schools where the need arises, but, in the case of the capital territory where there is a great number of people desiring to attend government schools, the government was finding it difficult to acquire land for such project, especially, in the Okpanam Road/GRA axis of town.
“We are establishing more schools in areas where they are needed, sadly, our greatest challenge is land for us to establish schools within the capital territory,” he said, adding, “as it concerns the existing schools, we have restored discipline and have also, ensured good learning environment for our children.”
Specifically answering question about the secondary school in Okwe that witnesses flooding, the Commissioner said, “as a government, we are aware of the challenges, we will work with the Ministry of Housing in determining the extent of work to be done in terms of the classroom renovation and propose channeling of rain water by ensuring a proper landscaping of the school grounds.”
He stated that they are also focusing on ensuring that discipline is upheld in schools while at the same time ensuring close monitoring of students during examination.
“In all, we are working hard to improve the standard of education in our schools system and will continue to ensuring close monitoring for the right things to be done, we believe more in action than playing to the gallery because, the future of our children is our major concern,” he emphasised.
NO.DTS 0972: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
OKOWA TAKES ROAD PROJECTS TO MORE RURAL COMMUNITIES…COMMISSIONS KWALE/OGUME/AMAI/OBIARUKU, UDUOPHORI ROADS, OTHERS
In line with his administration’s commitment to providing road infrastructure, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has commissioned the Kwale/Ogume/Amai/Obiaruku Road in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The Governor who was inspecting and commissioning projects executed by his administration, also, commissioned the Uduophori and Kabowei roads in Patani Local Government Area, also in Delta State.
Governor Okowa who commissioned the projects with the people of the areas coming out in their large numbers to appreciate the quality of work done on the projects, assured the people of the commitment of his administration to delivering people-oriented projects.
At Kwale where he commissioned the Kwale/Ogume/Amai/Obiaruku Road, Governor Okowa commended the peaceful disposition of the people which ensured that projects were executed without hitches.
He assured the people of his administration’s commitment to deliver dividends of democracy while at Uduophori and Patani where he commissioned the Uduophori and Kabowei roads respectively in Patani Local Government Area of the State, Governor Okowa said, his administration will not relent in ensuring that the desire of the people are met in line with democratic tenets.
The Governor witnessed a unique scene on his way to Uduophori as the people of Uto-Ewu, Assa, Etefe, Omafuvwie and Edjekuo communities came out to thank him for what he is doing for Deltans and appealed to the Governor to extend such gesture to their communities.
Governor Okowa on the spot, asked the Commissioner for Works to find out what it will take to construct the road, stating that his administration will continue to run an open-door policy, accessible to the people and provide for the people as democracy dictates.
Spokesman of the communities, Mr Jerry Opharomavuo had said they were aware of the developmental strides of the Governor in different parts of the state and appealed for the Construction of roads to their communities.
In a related development, Governor Okowa has assured the people of Utagba-Ogbe of the Construction of the Eke Market.
The Governor gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy visit on the Oduosa of Utagba-Ogbe, HRM Isaac Obi.
Governor Okowa who identified with the people, especially, traders for their displacement following plans by the local government council to construct a modern market that has not materialised over the years, stated that his administration will work towards constructing the market.
He also, disclosed that the people will soon have an uninterrupted power supply when an Independent Power Plant (IPP) is completed in Okpai, assuring that there will be step down of electricity in Okpai and Kwale respectively.
The Oduosa who spoke through Chief Dennis Ejechi, had commended the Governor for the numerous roads constructed in the area and appealed to the Governor to construct a bridge across the Ase Creek and also, construct the Eke Market which has been under construction for some years.
Governor Okowa also, paid courtesy visit to the Pere of Kabowei Kingdom.
NO.DTS 0973: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
AGRICULTURE HOLDS THE KEY TO NIGERIA’S GROWTH – GOV. OKOWA
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Nigerians to participate in the development of the agricultural sector so as to diversify and improve the nation’s economy.
Speaking during the valedictory Thanksgiving Service of the outgoing Local Government Council Chairmen in the state at the weekend in Asaba, Senator Okowa said that the present economic recession has shown that Nigerians needed to look beyond the oil economy and embrace agriculture for the growth of the economy.
“There is no doubt that we are in a difficult situation in Nigeria today with the present economic recession, there is a reason for everything and God wants us to learn a lesson as a nation, we need to look beyond the oil economy, we have to go back to agricultural produce.“ he said, urging all Nigerians to “take to agriculture and allied businesses, I believe that the present agricultural policies of government will impact on the lives of the people and we will see the effects in the next five years.”
“We will realise that the effect of the recession is to turn our eyes back to agriculture”, Governor Okowa emphasised.
He called the clergy and laity to continue to pray for sustenance of peace and unity in the country and the Niger Delta region.
While congratulating the outgoing chairmen for successful three years tenure and for remembering to give thanks to God, the governor urged them to continue to contribute their quota to the development of the state wherever they find themselves.
Earlier in a homily, Rev Fr. Stanislaus Odiegwu charged all political office holders to always use their position for the betterment of their society, stressing that leaders should at all times endeavour to unite the people as one and should not be ethnocentric.
At the colourful reception ceremony held in honour of the outgoing chairmen, awards were given to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and some members of the state Executive Council for their support for the development of the Local Government Councils.
NO.DTS 0974: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CBN ANCHOR BORROWERS’ SCHEME TO IMPROVE OIL PALM PRODUCTION, CHIKEZIE TELLS OIL PALM FARMERS
Farmers have been advised to take advantage of the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to improve and increase their oil palm production in the State.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Austin Chikezie gave the advice at the Town Hall meetings he held with oil palm farmers and intending oil palm farmers from the 25 Local Government Areas of the State.
Hon. Chikezie, addressing oil palm farmers and intending oil palm farmers in the various locations during the Town Hall meetings stated that Delta State Government had gone into partnership with, The Nigeria Incentive Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), to anchor the oil palm farming programmes, on palm oil production and processing, the State Government would provide all logistics and do everything within its power to ensure the success of the programme in the State, as Delta State has a comparative advantage in oil palm farming.
According to the Agriculture Commissioner, NIRSAL was the modalities for the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), under the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, saying that oil palm was initially removed from the list of scheme under the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme last year due to the long gestation period of oil palm production but has now been included with NIRSAL coming in to anchor it.
The Commissioner said that the awareness creation became necessary so as to inform oil palm farmers, especially those who registered under the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme last year and intending farmers of the benefits they stand to get when they key-in into the new programme under NIRSAL.
He revealed that the interest rate under the new programme remained the same nine percent (9%) and a moratorium of five years, saying that the amount of input that would be given to each farmer would depend on the size of each farmers farm.
Hon. Chikezie also informed the farmers that the State Government would soon embark on training programme for farmers so as to introduce them to new innovations and technology in oil palm farming, saying that the leading Nigeria Oil Palm Research Institute, NIFOR would certify the seedlings to be supplied.
He stated that those who already had oil palm plantations would benefit from the programme as NIRSAL would give them maintenance such as fertilizer and other farm input for better oil palm yield.
The Operations Manager of NIRSAL, Mrs Stella Jamgbadi while addressing the farmers urged them to belong to a single cooperative society in other to be able to access the benefits of the programme, even as she stated that, government has created a value chain where oil palm farmers, the input suppliers and the off-takers (buyers) are brought together so that there would be no lost or lag.
Mrs Jamgbadi also told the farmers that the best variety of oil palm seedlings would be supplied under the programme to ensure optimal oil palm production.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sir Austin Oghoro advised the farmers to take advantage of the programme as no other programme would ever be as good as this, even as he urged them to start land preparation for next season’s planting during the coming harmattan.
NO.DTS 0975: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
DSTG FLAGS-OFF DISTRIBUTION OF IMPROVE VARIETY OF CASSAVA CUTTINGS TO CASSAVA FARMERS
In a bid to increase cassava production in the State, the Delta State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has distributed 4,000 bundles of new improved variety of Cassava stems to 70 cassava farmers in Ika axis of the State.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Austin Chikezie while flagging off the distribution at Agbor stated that the aim of the programme was to improve farmers harvest and to create wealth.
“Specifically, the 2017 cassava programme is put together to increase cassava production for consumption and local industry, generate employment, increase yield from 16 metric tons to 30 – 45 metric tons per hectare, boost income of cassava farmers by about 100% and attract investors.” The Commissioner stated.
According to the Commissioner, “Delta State has ecologically been adjudged as one of the best in Nigeria for the cultivation of Cassava,…the use of local varieties has been prevalent in the State and this has resulted in low yield”
“It is necessary to note that the efforts of the Nigeria Root Crop and Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan had yielded improved cassava varieties that are diseases resistant, early maturing and with average yield of between 30 – 45 metric tons.”
Hon. Chikezie revealed that the administration of Governor Okowa approved the introduction of the improved cassava varieties in Delta State in the 2017 budget year, saying that the State Government was poised to intervene massively in the agricultural sector in the State.
The Commissioner explained that the schedule of distribution of the improved cassava cuttings to farmers in Delta State is in three batches; October and December, 2017 for late planting and March 2016 for early planting, saying that the cuttings would be distributed among farmers who had expressed interest and had their farm land verified.
He however revealed that beneficiaries of the improved cassava cuttings would pay back with cuttings of equal measure giving to them at harvest which would in turn be given to other farmers in the State.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sir Austin Oghoro urged the farmers to take advantage of the cassava cuttings distributed to them, to improve their cassava production thereby increasing their income.
Highpoint of the programme was the handing over of cassava cuttings bundles to individual beneficiaries who were at the ceremony.
In the same vein, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in order to ensure that the State Government’ effort at increasing cassava production in the State is successful, had embarked on training the Assistant Chief Agriculture Officers (ACAOs), Subject Matters Specialists (SMEs), and the Block Extension Services Officers (BES) and in the State on how to manage farmers who got the improved Cassava cuttings distributed to farmers in the State recently.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources urged the trainees to take the training seriously as they would be held accountable for any flop in the programme.
A research scientist and an Agric Extension Communication Expert from the National Root Crop Research Institute, Umudike, Dr. Okwusi Moses stated that there are new innovations in the management of the new improved cassava varieties which the officers need to know to achieve optimal yield.
Dr. Okwusi stated that the improved cassava is resistant to disease and also matures earlier than the old cassava varieties used by the farmers.
NO.DTS 0976: MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
RECESSION: REMAIN STEADFAST, FOCUS, PRAYERFUL – OGIDI-GBEGBAJE TELLS YOUTHS
The Permanent Secretary Directorate of Government House and Protocol Mr. Eddy Ogidi-Gbegbaje has charged youths to remain resourceful, focused, and prayerful in spite of the challenging state of the nation.
Mr. Ogidi-Gbegbaje gave the charge at the send forth ceremony held in honor of the members of the 2016 Batch B Stream 1 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who served at the Directorate.
He explained that despite the challenging situation facing the nation, youths in the country should be resourceful, focus and look up to God for direction and guidance in whatever endeavor they want to pursue after service.
According to him “In spite of the fact that things are rough and quite difficult, there is still a ray of hope that greater times are ahead and so you must remain steadfast, focus and prayerful as you must remember that you have a God and a family name to protect.”
Mr. Ogidi-Gbegbaje emphasized the need for skill acquisition and vocational training to better equip themselves rather than waiting for government to provide white collar jobs.
“You must acquire other skills to better equip yourselves in the labour market rather than looking for white collar jobs that are no longer easy to come by” he said.
He commended the corps members for their exemplary decorum during their service in the Directorate and charged them to remain good ambassadors of the state and their families.
Speaking briefly the Director, Office of the Chief of Staff, Mrs. Patricia Okaku charged the corps members to become self-reliant and dedicated in their pursuits after service.
Responding on the behalf of the outgoing corps members Mr. Friday Salifu expressed gratitude to the management and staff of the Directorate for the hospitality and conducive working environment they enjoyed during their service.
Highlight of the occasion was the book presentation by a corps member, Miss. Ikegbunam Chinemerem and presentation of souvenirs by the Permanent Secretary and other top officials to the Corp members.