Two-weekly State of Abia Report
-Office of the Commissioner for Information
Abia State Government commenced payment of November 2017 state workers salaries on Friday 15th December 2017 with 22 MDAs already paid. The rest are expected to be paid on Monday 18th December.
Later in the week of 18th December 2017 the government expects to commence payment of December 2017 salaries, subject to completion of necessary processes by the concerned MDAs and parastatals.
Abia State received N5.7b as 3rd tranche of Parks Club Refunds on Friday 15th December 2017 and will soon set up a Labour Unions dominated committee to supervise disbursement to areas of need. As earlier announced, priority will be given to teachers and Pensioners payment in order to bring them at par or close to MDAs who are up to date.
Ultimately we hope to stabilize salary payments through improvements in IGR collection and further plugging of leakages within the system.
In this regard, the Government expects to unveil a new internally generated revenue collection system, from January 2018. It is hoped that this fully automated system will deliver higher IGR to wean the state of dependence on FAAC for salary payment, over time.
The workers of Abia State University Teaching Hospital called off their industrial action on Thursday 14th December 2017 with a pledge to review the lopsided wage bill and bring to alignment with what obtains in other South East States.
Governor Ikpeazu directed sanitary inspectors at local governments to deploy to the streets with mobile sanitary courts and ensure further improvements in sanitation practices in the state. The Commissioner for Environment was directed to ensure full compliance by the LGAs.
Our infrastructure development programs continue at full speed with most road contractors mobilized to site. In addition to the continuing operation zero portholes, we hope to commission a minimum of 8 fully reconstructed roads early next year, with others at various stages of completion.
The Government continues to invest in improved agricultural products output with our “Abia Rice” yield in 2017 doubling the output for 2016 as a result of the support given to rice farmers, in partnership with FADAMA III initiatives of the world bank. The Ozuitem sector of the hitherto moribund Igu Dam has been reactivated and ready to support all year round rice farming in the state.
Similarly, the enhanced Mushroom production program of the administration continues to expand and deliver higher output to the market and the government wishes to encourage young Abians to take up Mushroom farming as core or alternative job capable of delivering as much as N10,500 daily income. The ministry of agriculture is ready to train as many as are willing to engage in mushroom farming.
With over 3m high yielding tenera palm seedlings already planted in the state by the ministry of agriculture, we are on course to repositioning the state as the number one palm producing state in NIGERIA and Africa. Our target is to plant a minimum of 7m tenera palms across the state before December 2019.
The Governor directed that tenera palm seeds be planted along some newly constructed road medians to beautify the state and reinforce our palm heritage. Already, the policy is being implemented along Ururuka road at Aba and other designated roads will soon join. We encourage Abians to buy tenera palm seedlings from the ministry of agriculture and plant at home, farms and parks.
Recently, we partnered with the federal government and bank of industry to launch the improved egg production scheme in the state. The scheme will empower farmers and make them employers of labour which can lead to N1.6 million profit cash at hand and massive wealth creation in Abia State. Participants of the scheme are entitled to a loan of N4.3 million to be repaid in two and half years with a single-digit interest rate.
Still on Agriculture, work is accelerating to ensure the early completion of the construction of additional two units of 150,000 bird pen project. The Abia South unit is already in operation while the ongoing 2 are situated at Abia North and Central.
The ongoing renovation of 132 schools and construction of 4 new model schools by ASUBEB is progressing with many new classroom blocks at roofing stage. We are also expanding our school feeding and free school sandals programs.
On trade and investment, the executive board of all the market unions at Aba have been reconstituted with new leaders already sworn in. Plans are on the way to relocate all traders at Umuahia to Ubani market with a new shorter state link road planned for early next year.
The Governor interacted with Abians via live radio and tv broadcasts where he answered pertinent questions on governance through Magic FM Aba, Flo FM Umuahia and BCA Radio and TV stations at Umuahia. The radio interaction is expected to become a monthly program in addition to quarterly town hall meetings across the 3 geopolitical zones of the state.
Finally, the newly reconstituted state executive council met on Monday 11th December and approved various development projects including additional street lights for Umuahia and Aba.
John Okiyi Kalu
Commissioner for Information