Three Commissioners in Rivers State have disclosed that lack of funds has stalled the completion of 188 ongoing projects in the state. The commissioners made the submission yesterday in Port Harcourt when they appeared before the Rivers State House of Assembly to explain the financial status of the state.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that the House had last week summoned the commissioners via a motion moved by the Deputy Leader, Hon. Nname Robinson Ewor, to appear before it and explain why workers were unpaid and the position of its economy.
In their submissions, Hon. Augustine Nwokocha (Commissioner for Power), Hon. Victor Giadom (Works) and Mrs. Ibim Semenitari (Information), said that some projects under their ministries could not be completed due to lack of funds.
According to Nwokocha, the state government has completed 118 of the 306 projects, including roads, bridges, shore protection, reclamation and markets.
He said: “In all these, we have successfully completed about 118 to the benefit of Rivers people. The rest are at different stages of completion. Of course you know that when our administration came into office, most of the roads in Rivers State were within seven-metre width. It became obvious to us as government to improve the width pavement of our roads and at present we have completed 22 dual carriage roads in Rivers State and that has greatly improved on our traffic situation.”
Also, Giadom (Commissioner for Power) told the House that the state government initially released N30billion of the N70billion the ministry requested for power plants across the state and attributed the problem of power supply in the state to paucity of funds and vandalism.
He said: “The Ministry of Power in the last four years was a very busy ministry. We positioned ourselves to build power plants, transmission lines, build distribution sub-stations and install transformers towards stabilising power supply in the state.
“Total budget was N70billion and government initially gave us N30billion, which we went to work with. We were able to deliver a power plant in Afam and at the verge of completing the second phase of that project. We were also able to build distribution sub-stations; one at Afam, one at Elelenwo and one at Rumuosi. The idea of the sub-stations was to distribute power to the periphery of the city since the only sub-station we have at the centre at Oginigba was not enough. We then installed 28 sub-stations across the city and 280 transformers.
“Part of the resources required was no longer able to ensure those ones were completed. So, the bottom line was that most of the things we wanted to do were not completed because funds were no longer available. And then the issue of people vandalising our transmission lines, our distribution infrastructure also affected us in delivering the projects,” Giadom said.
On her part, Semenitari said though her ministry is a service one, the state government through it had build a befitting secretariat for the Nigeria Union Journalists, NUJ, in the state, bought a cord machine for the state newspaper corporation, publishers of the Tide Newspaper as well acquired new equipment for the Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation. She added that the state was not able to acquire the budgeted equipment for the Rivers State Television due to lack of funds.
In his response, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Leyii Kwanee, who presided over the House plenary, told the commissioners that they might be required to appear before the House again to give details of how the monies released to their ministries were spent on the said projects.
Meanwhile, the House has constituted three ad-hoc committees in preparation for its winding up. The committees are Strategy, Winding Down, and Valedictory. They are headed by Hon. Onari Brown, Hon. Okachukwu Akara Nwogu and Hon. Ngozi Golden Chioma respectively.
Announcing the committees, Kwanee said the chairmen, who were selected from the three senatorial zones of the state, were free to pick two lawmakers of their choice as members.
He also used the opportunity to thank the Assembly Press Corps, who according to him had adequately reported the 7th Assembly since it was constituted in June 2011.

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