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Ahmed defends decision to divest from Kwara Express

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Gov. Abdulfattah Ahmed

GOVERNOR Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has justified his administration’s decision to divest from the state-owned transport corporation, Kwara Express, ceding its ownership to a private firm, ‘Harmony Transport Services Limited’ (HTSL). Ahmed said Kwara Express in its past 30 years of operations has remained a liability to government.

The governor, who warned against using government property in a wasteful manner said none of the workers of the transport firm before the take over arrangement would lose his or her job due to the changes in the management.

The governor in Ilorin, while handing over 42 new buses to the Director-General of the Harmony Holdings, Mr. Tope Daramola, no government would fold its hands seeing its investment turning into a drain pipe on the hard earned money of the tax payers.

He therefore reiterated the continued commitment of his administration to upscale development and transform the state into a new frontier of economic prosperity, adding, “I foresaw a Kwara State with a diversified economy, fast-tracked infrastructure and greater opportunities for a much better life.”

Ahmed, who had recently signed four bills into law, noted, “Of relevance here is the law that repealed Kwara State Transport Corporation, otherwise known as Kwara Express. In its place, we established Harmony Transport Services Limited, as a fully owned subsidiary of Harmony Holdings Limited.

“Indeed, establishing HTSL reflects how we intend to run government business henceforth: Through innovative approaches, prudent management, and targeted diversification.”

He added that the commissioning of the 42 new buses for HTSL, acquired at the cost of N270.6m, was a strong pointer to the better future that awaited the people of the state through better management of public resources.
Besides, he stated that the acquisition of the buses was indicative of Harmony Holdings’ capacity to steer the transport company towards growth and profitability.

According to Ahmed, “It is worthy of note that while unveiling Harmony Holdings Limited in March 2013, I charged its management to turn around the fortunes of troubled entities established by successive administrations in the state.
“These companies were struggling to turn a profit and instead constituted a drainpipe on the state government’s resources.

“As a consequence, my administration established the Holding Company to turn around the fortunes of these companies and put them on the path of profitability, thereby raising revenue for our development. From today’s event, it is clear that the vision behind the establishment of Harmony Holdings Ltd is gradually coming to fruition.”
Speaking on the fate of the workers of the defunct Kwara Express he noted, “The dissolution of Kwara State Transport Corporation, for example, has created apprehension about the fate of its staff. Let me state clearly that no staff of the defunct corporation will lose their job on account of its takeover.

“You have a choice to remain in Harmony Transport Services Limited or seek redeployment back to the core civil service. Either way, your jobs are safe.”

Speaking at the event Daramola pledged due diligence, introduction of profitable management skill and retention of the safety measure the former company was noted for, to turn around for better the fortunes of the HTSL.

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