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Friday, June 14, 2024

ONE YEAR OF GOV. FUBARA STEWARDSHIP REPORT.

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY SIR SIMINALAYI FUBARA GSSRS, GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE, AT THE TOWN HALL MEETING AND PRESENTATION OF THE GOVERNOR’S ONE-YEAR SCORECARD AT OBI WALI INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE ON WEDNESDAY 29TH MAY 2024

Protocols

First, let me welcome you to today’s town hall meeting for the presentation of our administration’s First Year Performance Report.

2. You gave me the greatest honour and opportunity to serve Rivers State as your Governor a year ago. Today, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped me with this priceless opportunity to serve.

3. A lot has changed in the political landscape since I took the oath of office. But we remain committed to the covenant we made a year ago to put Rivers State first, defend her interest, and ensure that our people get the dividends of democracy and good governance.

4. We started this journey with a bang. We were focused. We were determined to make the change we promised with a sense of urgency. But then, somehow, we suddenly found ourselves in the cesspit of crisis barely three months into our tenure. It was not just an ordinary political crisis. It was a vicious existential crisis. But thank goodness, the worst is over. We have successfully defended our right and opportunity to govern our State and advance its progress in freedom, and we will continue to prevail.

5. For us, any government worth its name must be accountable, responsive, and responsible for the security and well-being of the people. Having managed the affairs of our State for one year, including dispensing public resources, it is only proper that we render account with a public presentation of performance record.

6. I am therefore pleased to stand before you to present our Scorecard for the first year we have been in office as the executive arm of the government of Rivers State.

7. Recall that we promised to deliver to our people our core priorities of economic growth, infrastructure, healthcare, education, and agriculture, as contained in our blueprint for building a virile, resilient, and progressive State that caters to the needs of the people.

8. Today, I am proud to report that, despite the unprecedented challenges, our first year was marked by significant achievements we can all see and attest to. Road and other infrastructure

9. From the onset, we believed that infrastructure is key to sustainable development. Without adequate infrastructure, we strive in vain for a secure, safer, economically vibrant, developed, and prosperous Rivers State.

10. As patriots, we are all looking forward to the day when all Rivers State will be interconnected by roads and bridges, which only the government can make possible in partnership with the private sector and our development partners.

11. The facts and figures show that we inherited 34 uncompleted road projects worth over 225.279 billion naira spread across 13 local government areas of the State.

12. Out of this number, 12, including Oyigbo – Okoloma Road in Oyigbo LGA, Alode – Onne Road in Eleme LGA, Botem-Gbene-Ue-Horo Road in Tai LGA, Mgbodahia internal roads in Obio/Akpor LGA, Ugbo-Uhugbogo road in Ahoada East LGA, Udiemude road in Ahoada East LGA, Omoku-Aligwu-Krigene road in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, Eneka internal roads in Obio/Akpor LGA, Ogbakiri internal roads in Emohua LGA, Omagwa internal roads in Ikwerre LGA, the Andoni section of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road in Adoni LGA, the Emohua – Tema junction road, Omoku – Egbema road, and Egbeda internal roads have been completed, while the rests, including the dualization of Ahoada – Omoku road are going on.

12. We initiated the construction of 9 new road projects of our own worth 534.332 billion naira, including the:Port Harcourt dual-carriage Ring Road;Ndoni junction – Onita Creek link road in OnelgaUmuakali – Eberi road in Omuma LGAAleto-Ebubu-Etoe junction road in Eleme LGA Ebocha – Ndoni link road in Onelga Extension of Chokocho – Igbodo road in Etche LGA to Imo State boundary section with Rivers State.Dualization of Elele–Egbeda-Omoku road Reconstruction of Okania-Ogbogoro road in Obio/Akpor LGA; andTrans-Kalabari road, which we recently awarded.

12. I wish to emphasize that with a combined cost of 528.6 billion naira, the 50.15 kilometres Port Harcourt dual-carriage Ring Road, the dualization of Elele-Egbeda-Omoku road and the Trans-Kalabari road projects are three most ambitious road projects ever carried out by any Governor in Rivers State.

13. The 50.15 kilometres Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Ring Road with 6 flyovers, one river crossing, walkways, drains, streetlights and spanning 6 local government areas was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc at a total cost of N195.3 billion naira for a 36-month completion period. The speed with which the project is advancing shows that this administration is in a hurry to deliver this project even before the due date with the 77% down payment of 150 billion naira to the contractor. Presently, work on the project is progressing satisfactorily from six different locations.

14. The 33.5-kilometre Elele-Egbeda-Omoku road was awarded on the 26th of March 2024 at a total cost of N80.886 billion naira to Craneburge Construction Company with a down payment of 50 per cent of the contract sum and 24-month completion timeline. The contractor has since commenced work on this project.

15. The 12.1-kilometre all-swamp with 6 bridges Trans-Kalabari road, which stretches from Rumuolumeni to Bakana and Tombia, was awarded to Lubrik Construction Company Limited on 20th May 2024 at a total cost of N225.3 billion, with a down payment of 30% of the contract sum and 36-month completion timeline.

16. It is also necessary to reiterate that only the Port Harcourt Ring Road is being funded with borrowed funds. The Elele-Egbeda-Omoku road and the Trans-Kalabari road are being funded from accumulated savings from our much-improved IGR and other revenue receipts.

17. I wish to assure you that we are determined to complete these ambitious road projects within the lifespan of this administration to advance interconnectivity across the State, enhance movements of goods and services, and accelerate the socio-economic development of the impacted communities and the entire state in general.

18. It is also pertinent to note that the funding of these road projects has not deeply affected the government’s capacity to deliver other projects and services to the State and our people.

19. As of today, we have made payment in the sum of N6,127,212,625.93 on the Woji-Aleto-Alesa- Refinery Road & Bridge with Spur to East-West Road, N4,000,000,000.00 for Bori internal roads, N5,600,000,000.00 for Elelenwo internal road; N873,407,615.00 on Sand Filling & Reclamation Works at Abonnema; and N512,180,622.40 on Sand Filling & Reclamation Works at Kula.

20. We also paid N896,886,000.00 for the ongoing desilting/evacuation of debris and maintenance works at the Ntawoba canal to control the perennial overflow and flooding of the environment during the rainy season from that source.

21. We do hope and pray that the contractors of these projects, most of whom are from the communities would return to the site and ensure their completion for the benefit of their communities and people, having received final payments from the Government. Community leaders should monitor and ensure these contracts are fully executed to specifications and have themselves to blame if they do not.Education Delivery

23. At inception, we inherited several uncompleted secondary schools’ reconstruction and other projects. On assumption of office, we quickly released funds to complete these schools and deliver them for public use.

24. To this end, we made final payments of N701,943,233,05 million naira for the completion and delivery of Community Secondary School, Rumuepirikom; N355,682,471.99 for Kalabari National College; N329,330,552.25 for Government Comprehensive Secondary School Borokiri; N379,793,277.60 for Government Secondary School, Eneka; N461,973,829.38 for Government Secondary School, Emohua; N134,600,000.00 for Comprehensive Secondary School, Alesa – Eleme; N1,142,279,618.17 for Community Secondary School, Koroma, Tai; N1,863,213,093.13 for Government Comprehensive School, Okarki; N585,084,678.80 for Government Secondary School, Ataba; and N2,092,313,561.19 for Government Girls Secondary School, Ahoada.

25. We also released N193,785,313 for the reconstruction of Community Secondary School Kunusha, N1,500,000,000.000 for the reconstruction of Okrika Grammar School; N612,632,677.94 for the furnishing of the University of Port Harcourt Convocation Arena; and N700,000,000.00 for the twin hostel projects at the Yenagoa campus of the Nigerian Law School.

26. We released N1,902,334,833.33 as matching funds for the Universal Basic Education Board for the provision of infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of basic education schools. It is noteworthy that the State’s Universal Basic Education Board has used funds released to rehabilitate over 50 basic education schools across the State.

27. We spent N2,663,122,500.00 for the supply of textbooks to all levels of education in the Rivers State school system, N1,404,367,000.00 for 2023 West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE); N973,581,675.00 for 2023 SSCE (NECO) Examination; N369,127,000.00 for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE); N1,149,849,700.00 for 2024 WASSCE; N606,287,000.00 for 2024 BECE; N16,194,000.00 for NABTEB, and N190,000,000.00 for the purchase of consumables, chemicals and science practical materials for 2024 WASSCE/NECO examinations.

28. We also paid N423,000,00.00 scholarship fund for Rivers State indigenous medical Students studying at the Rivers State University; and N1,000,000,000.00 special grant to the Rivers State University.

29. Although there are many more schools to be renovated, equipped, and staffed, we decided to complete and deliver all ongoing school projects before embarking on new reconstructions, which we shall soon start after an audit of the state of the outstanding schools and assessment of their needs.Healthcare Delivery

30. Health is wealth and our commitment to advancing the health, safety and well-being of all residents cannot be over-emphasized. It is for this reason that we made healthcare delivery a priority focus of our administration, and deployed funds towards realizing this fundamental objective.

31. Shortly after we came into office, we commissioned the Kelsy Harrisson Memorial Hospital and the Dental, Maxillo-facia, ENT, and Ophthalmology hospital for public use. We spent the sum of N179,000,000.00 and N112,957,619.13 respectively to provide repairs, materials, and solar electricity installations before commissioning.

32. We spent the sum of N720,074,893.80 on sundry equipment and materials, including neurosurgical tools at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH); N100,000,000.00 for additional 100-bed spaces for the Orthopaedics, Trauma, Surgical Wards in RSUTH; N93,000,000.00 to expand and equip the Intensive Care Unit in RSUTH by 12-beds; and N343,131,248.14 to construct a 400-capacity auditorium at the School of Nursing/Midwifery;

33. We spent N300,000,000.00 for accreditation purposes, and N90,000,000.00 for the repair of radiology equipment; established a burns treatment and care unit, a modular surgical theatre, a pathology laboratory at the RSUTH, and spent N90,000,000.00 to provide House Officer’s residence, which prompted the Medical and Dental Councill of Nigeria to increase the number of House Officers approved for the hospital from 64 to 96.

34. We also launched the take-off of the contributory health insurance scheme and provided N70,000,000.00 take-off grant to the Board; revitalized the Rivers State emergency services, and spent N157,423,845.00 on medical emergencies; N200,000,000.00 million naira for the control of Lassa fever outbreak in the State; and renovated 35 primary healthcare centres through the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Board.

35. Finally, we approved the implementation of the reviewed consolidated salary scheme for medical doctors and the recruitment of 1000 medical personnel into the medical services of the State.Economic growth, Security, and Workers Welfare

36. We inherited a State, whose economy had remained on a declining trajectory despite its growth potential, and we needed to change this negative narrative for the better.

37. We also needed to attract investments into the State and increase our internally generated revenue base as too much reliance on federal allocations was a challenge to the realization of our development goals. We therefore set up an IGR/Investment Advisory Committee, which is helping us to navigate our course for increased economic investments and internally generated revenues to accelerate economic growth, create jobs and advance the welfare and well-being of our people.

38. One year down the line and we believe we are succeeding. Our internally generated revenue witnessed an astronomical increase from 12 billion naira to between 17 billion naira in off-peak periods and 28 billion naira during the peak months.

39. We prioritized the security of lives and property by supporting the security agencies to do what they know how to do best. Our commitment and strategies on safety and security are yielding the desired results with lower crime rates reported in our homes, offices, communities, and neighbourhoods.

39. Our liberalized business-friendly economic policies and programmes are boosting confidence and attracting local and international investors and investments into the State judging by the expression of interest offers we receive every month. We have kept our taxes low, frozen the imposing of taxes on small businesses across the State, and increased the ease of doing business in the State by eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks. No request for the signing of a certificate of occupancy remains in my office beyond two days, except if I am otherwise engaged beyond two days or out of town.

40. We have established a four billion naira matching fund with the Bank of Industry to support existing and new micro, small, and medium-sized businesses to grow their businesses to drive economic growth and create jobs and wealth for citizens. Over 3000 citizens and residents have applied to access this fund to fund their businesses at a single-digit interest rate and a repayment period of up to five years.

41. We remain committed to prompt and regular payment of salaries, pensions, gratuities, and other benefits to civil servants. We have restored electricity, water, and lift services to the State, and contracted engineering consultants to scope the secretariat buildings and advice on the best ways to rehabilitate and restore their structural integrity and values.

42. We have and will not fail in our legal, contractual, and financial obligations to contractors, service providers, and investors and in respecting the rule of law, due process and the constitutional rights of all residents and visitors alike.

43. We are committed to economic diversification through agriculture, and we assure citizens we will attract serious investors to take over and revive all state-owned farms and agricultural assets and harness the huge agricultural potential of our State to enhance food security, grow our economy, create jobs and generate revenue for the government and stakeholders.

44. In addition, we have concluded plans to engage our youths in profitable agriculture and applied to participate in the second phase of the Special Agro-processing Zones project of the African Development Bank, and all other agriculture development schemes of the Federal Government.

45. With all sense of humility, I am proud of the progress we have made in one year. I am also confident that, although the progress may be slow, we are on the right path towards realizing our collective dreams for a better Rivers State.

46. I acknowledge that the achievements we have recorded, and the progress made would not have been possible without your enduring support and the significant roles you all played in different capacities, whether as legislators, judicial officers, political and opinion leaders, civil servants, the clergy, professionals, businessmen and women, youths, women, or ordinary citizens.

47. I assure you that we will continue to build on what we have achieved; neither would we fail to prioritize the security, comfort, welfare, and prosperity of our people as the be-all and end-all of our administration. Our goal is to build a strong, resilient and sustainable economy bustling to advance the security and well-being of all who live in our dear State.

48. I have been inspired by your unconditional love and support to never give up and to rather work harder to deliver more quality socio-economic projects and services for our State and make life more meaningful for all.

49. Looking back, we have put Rivers State first and getting things done for everyone, and I am as excited as you by what we have achieved together in the last year of hard work, commitment, and determination.

50. Finally, as I look forward to another fulfilling year of working with everyone to make our beloved Rivers State the greatest State in Nigeria, let me appeal to the opposition that we need peace and security, not crisis and trauma for Rivers State to develop, grow from strength to strength and occupy its pride of place in the comity of States as the best place to visit, live, work, do business and raise our children.

51. On this note, it is my privilege to thankfully present our administration’s One Year Scorecard to you to the glory of God, and as a symbol of our commitment to transparency, accountability, and effective service delivery.

52. Once again, on behalf of my wife, we appreciate and remain grateful to all of you for the opportunity to serve our State and work hard to deliver on those issues that matter most to the quality of your lives and those of your children.

53. Thank you, and God bless us all.

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