Delta to engage journalists



Lawmkers approve N10 billion loan 

Delta State Government has pledged to meaningfully engage journalists for the actualization of its programmes. This, according to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Festus Ovie Agas, is to ensure the success of the five-point agenda of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

The five point agenda is encapsulated in the acronym SMART which stands for Strategic Wealth Creation and Provisions of Jobs, Meaningful Peace Building Platforms aimed at Political ad Social Harmony, Agricultural Reforms and Industrialization, Relevant Health and Education Policies and Transformed nvironment through Urban Renewal.

Agas who spoke in Asaba yesterday during a visit by Executives of the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), led by its Chairman, Comrade Norbert Chiazor, explained that the place of media personnel was very paramount in governance.

He assured that the state government would attend to some of the challenges facing the State Council of the NUJ. Chiazor appealed for assistance to complete the Council Secretariat which the immediate past administration built to foundation level, as well as capacity building for journalists.

Meanwhile, the state’s lawmakers have in Asaba speedily granted Okowa’s request for a ten billion naira bond offer by Zenith Bank Plc just as he sent names of 12 nominees to the legislators for approval as commissioners.

Entitled, “Restructuring of Existing Loan Facilities and Offer of N10 Billion Term Loan by Zenith Bank PLC,” and dated June 22, 2015, the letter was read to lawmakers at Tuesday’s sitting by Speaker Monday Igbuya and was unanimously approved. In the letter, the governor wrote that the new administration met a huge bank/capital market debt burden with a scheduled monthly repayment of N4.6 billion.

This, he explained was in addition to the monthly repayment of the state infrastructure development bond of N50 billion obtained in 2011.

Constrained by the huge debt and in order to free resources for other development purposes, Okowa informed the House that his administration had to resort to the bank which has offered to restructure the state government’s existing loan facilities and that of the House of Assembly.

Okowa wrote: “The restructuring of the existing facilities and acceptance of the N10 billion term loan will mitigate the harsh impact of the liquidity crisis, reduce time lag in payment of salaries, pensions and overhead costs as well as ensure that take-off of some key projects germane to the agenda of this administration.”

Names which made the list of the first set of nominees for appointment as commissioners for consideration and confirmation include Mrs. Mary Owhotu Iyasere, John Nani, Dr. Kingsley Emu, James Augoye and Vincent Uduaghan, younger brother of the immediate past governor.

Others are immediate past Commissioner for Local Governemnt, Newworld Safugha, Mr. Joe Ogeh, Sir. Fidelis Tilije, Mrs. Omatsola Williams, Austin Chikezie, Mrs. Joyce Overah, former member of House of Representatives and Mr. Chiedu Ebie.

The House also constituted its principal officers. They include Tim Owhefere (Isoko North), Majority Leader; Mrs. Pat Ajudua (Oshimili North) and wife of socialite, Chief Fred Ajudua; Chief Whip while Oboro Preye (Bomadi) emerged as Deputy Majority Leader. Mr. Michael “Ejele” Diden (Warri North) emerged as Deputy Chief Whip, Mr. Reuben Izeze (Ughelli North 1) is the new Majority Whip while Mr. Festus Okoh (Ika South) of Accord Party is the Minority Leader.

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