Why we can no longer pay salaries Regularly – Okowa
By Francis Sadhere
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said the state can no longer pay the salaries of worker because of the dwindling oil revenue in the country which has resulted to low allocation from the federal government.
Governor Okowa said this yesteray during a stakeholders meeting he held with stakeholders in the state.
The theme of the stakeholders meeting was “Creating A Peaceful Atmosphere for the Development of Delta State and the Niger Delta Region.”
He lamented that Delta state was now receiving a little more than 3 billion naira as against 20 billion naira it was getting before, from the federal allocation monthly.
He blamed the present economic crisis that the country was passing through to lack of government’s ability to increase oil production, coupled with renewed attacks on oil facilities.
He said Delta state has to rise above the the economic crisis by ensuring that production level is increased through maintaining peace in the oil bearing communities.
He added that to achieve peace and increase oil production in the region government has to be proactive and develop the oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta region.
He said he was worried that Delta state has been in the news for the bad reasons and would want that situation to change.
Governor Okowa said that though he was committed to serving Delta State, he can do less when money is not in circulation.
He said, “I am committed to serve Delta State to the best of my abilities. But I cannot manufacture money to do what I want to do.”
He therefore appealed to Deltans to collaborate with security agencies to ensure that peace reigns in the state.
He added that Delta state was amending the anti kidnapping law where any building that is owned by a kidnapper or a collaborator to a kidnapper would be destroyed.
While recognising the establishment of vigilante groups, Governor Okowa also called for a measure of identifying them.
He promised to ensure that riverine communities in the state must be developed and have state and federal presence.
He pleaded with the oil bearing communities that before they entered into any memorandum of understanding with any oil industry, they must involve the ministry of justice of the state so that they can drive the force of implementation.
Speaking on Federal appointments, Governor Okowa said, “We are talking about oil blocks while our son is a minister of petroleum but we are not giving him the opportunity to perform and enjoy the position.”
He said delta state was Lucky to have the ministerial position, stressing that “we will all benefit if we give peace a chance.”
He said it was time for Delta state to reap the fruit of its labour, noting that the only way the state could achieve that was for it to create an atmosphere of peace.
He thanked the security agencies and the traditional rulers for keeping peace in the state.
He appealed to Deltans to allow peace to reign so that there could be development in the state.
He also promised to partner with national assembly members from the state, with a view to increasing the allocation coming to the state and region.
On Koko Port he said the issue has been raised and that the federal government was looking into it, but noted that there was a lot of economic politics surrounding it.
On the Export Processing Zone, EPZ, Okowa said EPZ project is still on course as the minister of petroleum is on top of the matter despite the forex challenges in the country.
“If we begin to read about negative stories in these region it will affect the EPZ projects.”