The Governor of Delta State, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that in spite of effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economies, his administration had continued with projects delivery in the state due to prudent fiscal planning and discipline.
Okowa stated this on Tuesday in Asaba while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after inspecting the level of work in Section C of Ughelli-Asaba road dualisation and DBS and Isho roads, Ubulu-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area.
He expressed satisfaction with the pace of work by the contractors and said that Ughelli-Asaba road was of great economic importance to the state because of its accessibility to the Warri Port and the Onitsha market.
According to the governor, when completed, the road will encourage more commercial activities in the state as more traders will channel their imports through the Warri ports to Onitsha market.
He explained that the state government was able to keep contractors on site in spite of the harsh effects of the pandemic because of fiscal discipline and re-adjustment of work plans with the contractors.
“We do know that we have financial challenges all over the world and Nigeria and Delta are no exceptions, but we have been speaking to our contractors to continue to stay on site.
“What we do now is to pay gradually because we have a well worked-out programme, and in all fairness to the contractors, they are cooperating with us. We don’t want them to leave the site because it will cause workers to lose jobs.
“Due to the fact that the contractors have had a good relationship with us in the past, they have always cooperated with us and as at today, all our contractors are on site and we are working out ways to support ourselves and find possible ways to raise funds to remobilise them to ensure they continue to stay on site.
“It’s not been easy but we can’t just afford to abandon the projects that we have; it is all part of planning and I believe that our planning is going on well,” he said.
Okowa, who was conducted round the projects by the Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Fred Edafioghor, said that the state government was committed to completing the Ughelli-Asaba road because of its economic importance to the state.
“We had to terminate the initial contract because the contractor was not doing well and we re-awarded it to CCECC just a few months ago and you can see the extent of work done so far in just a short while.
“I am impressed that they have done a lot of work in spite of the lockdown, and also the fact that we have been in the rainy season, a considerable amount of work has been done and they have assured us that the road will achieve the milestone.
“It will shorten the driving time from Warri, Ughelli to Asaba and it connects one end of the state to the other and very importantly because of the Onitsha market and the Warri Port.
“We believe that by the time this is completed, many of the importers will also prefer to bring their goods through the Warri Port rather than going through the Lagos Port,” he said.