The Enugu State Executive Council (EXCO) in continuation of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration’s urban and rural development drive and commitment to improved living standard of the people, yesterday, took far reaching decisions aimed at actualizing fully the state government’s agenda for the state.
Briefing newsmen after the EXCO meeting, the Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, stated that the council awarded contract for the rehabilitation of Orie Market-Nkwo Ida-Afor Inyi road junction in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area at the cost of 295,377,187.88.
Aroh, who briefed newsmen alongside the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Greg Nnaji and their Budget and Economic Planning counterpart, Dr. David Ngwunta, added that the council also approved the rehabilitation/construction of Ekulumili Street, New Haven, Enugu and access/internal roads at St. Theresa’s Cathedral, Nsukka, at the sum of N69,470,940.00 and N80,198,233.50, respectively.
Also awarded was the Onuiyi Beach-Umuano-Ibagwa Road, Nsukka, which the information commissioner noted had been awarded earlier, but was cancelled and rewarded by the council at the cost of N275,774,481.29.
Aroh, who disclosed that the council specifically deliberated extensively on the 2020 budget proposal which will be present to the State Assembly soon, added that it also approved the sum of N1,518,682,000.00 as the state government’s counterpart fund for the Universal Basic Education scheme to enable it access the federal government funds for the construction and renovation of more primary and junior secondary school buildings in the state.
Also approved according to the information commissioner was the sum of N100 million for the Ministry of Agriculture as logistics for the branding and marketing of Coal City Rice to be purchased from registered local farmers in the state at a standardized price, which will be sold to the public at a fair and affordable price “especially at this festive period”.
Aroh, who noted the state government has a long-term plan for massive rice milling and processing, explained that the council’s decision to act as “off-taker” for the rice produced by the farmers is to encourage and protect their businesses, stressing that “we have provided the enabling environment for the production of rice”.
He added that the council after discussion with the leadership of the Organized Labour in the state set up a joint committee to deal with the issues arising from the consequential adjustment of the new Minimum Wage, to be headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya.
According to him, “we have five representatives of the state government and five representatives of the labour. The committee is charged to immediately consider all issues arising from the new Minimum Wage; agree on consequential adjustment to the salaries and wages of workers and also consider the realities of implementation of this consequential adjustment in line with our known practice of paying salaries regularly and also the 13th month salary”.
The council upon consideration of a memo from the Ministry of Education, equally approved the immediate upgrade of facilities at Boy’s High School Orba and Youth Centre Mpu, Aninri LGA for the full take off as Army Command Science School and Army Command Technical College, respectively.
Aroh further disclosed that the council awarded contract for perimeter fencing of all the Magistrate and High Courts in the state and approved a proposal for infrastructural development of 24 hectares of land acquired by the State Ministry of Housing for housing projects “to be described as Independence Layout phase two extension, Enugu”.
The housing proposal, which is in line with the state government’s drive to provide more affordable houses for the people of the state, according to Aroh, was presented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Ikenna Nwodo together with the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Obiora Onugwu.
The information commissioner revealed that the council “considered with great joy and approved a reception in honour of Mrs. Josephine Ugwu, an indigene of Enugu State, Obukpa in Nsukka LGA precisely, and a staff of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) who recently received a presidential handshake and an integrity certificate award from the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for her honesty and dedication to work, having returned various sums of money she recovered while on duty including the latest twelve thousand US dollars.
“In recognition of this good feat and in our commitment to continue to encourage people to live honest life, believing that honesty is rewarded in all things, the state government has approved the reception in her honour and to give her a certificate of honour and integrity to show its support and happiness with her display of honesty”, Aroh said.
On the budget, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Dr. Ngwunta, further explained that the EXCO will reconvene on Monday to tidy up the processes, pointing out that “we had a stakeholder forum, on Tuesday, where the stakeholders from the CSOs, the traditional rulers and presidents-general made inputs in the 2020 budget proposal”.