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Delta APC Attacks Okowa Over Plans To Slow Down On Capital Budget Amid Covid-19 Outbreak

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The Delta state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has taken a swipe at Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, on his quest to cut down the number of capital projects in the state following the outbreak of Coronavirus (covid-19).

Okowa had told journalist during a media parley last week Thursday that the state government may be forced to review the 2020 budget due to the dwindling oil revenue occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 and its effect on global economy.

“Events of the last few weeks with regards to the recent crash in global oil price poses a major threat to the source of government revenue. Definitely, this development will no doubt affect the successful implementation of the 2020 budgets of states and the Nation at large.

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“We are however being very cautious and don’t want to rush into decisions on this. We will slow down on capital budget. But wil will encourage contractors to stay on sites.

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is currently affecting national economy negatively. Because as I speak, many industries are not in full production at the moment.And if the threat is not checked, it is going to create more negative impact on the economy, especially, the internally generated revenue,” Okowa had said.

He would later during inspection of ongoing work at the multi billion naira new Central Secretariat in Asaba, also hinted that the outbreak of the coronavirus had affected the completion of the gigantic project.

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Governor Okowa informed reporters that the completion date of the project had been shifted by two months – from March to July, 2020 – because 20 out of the 40 Chinese workers expected to handle special aspects of the project could not leave their country before the outbreak of the virus. Consequently, the project billed for completion in May will now be completed in July, he told journalists.

But APC in Delta in a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr Sylvester Imonina, while reacting to this, said that the “excuse given on non availability of funds to the Government of Delta State, purportedly caused by Coronavirus (covid-19), is bogus and unacceptable to the people.

According to the party, “It is a popular fact that in recent months, the Governor appointed thousands of political aides, largely on political patronage.

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“Painfully, majority of the appointed Special Advisers, Special Assistants and/or political aides do not add value to the social and economic development of the State.

“Information available to APC and the general public is that the internally generated revenue of Delta State on a monthly basis is in the neighborhood of N13 billion.

“On the other hand, the unaccounted/unremitted monies collected by friends and cronies of the State Government as political settlement, from business owners in Delta State are in billions of Naira!

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“One may quickly asks: Is it not morally wrong to use Delta monies to pay political aides who add no value to the governance of Delta State? Is it not morally wrong to cut down the capital projects that touch the lives of Deltans directly and indirectly? Apart from federal allocations and other revenues, what is the State Government doing with internally generated revenue?

“APC, Delta State challenges Governor Okowa to cut down his cost of governance, foisted on Deltans through redundant political aides. Also, we challenge the State Government to be more accountable in allocations of resources of the State”.

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