The Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication presents his monthly briefing to pressmen today on the activities of the government for the past one month.
BEING MEDIA BRIEFING BY THE HONORABLE COMMISSIONER FOR INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION, MALAM MUHAMMAD NAZIF AT THE CONFERENCE HALL OF THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION, JOSEPH GOMWALK SECRETARIAT, JOS, NOVEMBER 14, 2016.
Gentlemen of the press,
Another opportunity presents itself today for our monthly briefing. But I should say right away that a number of unexpected but equally important activities compelled a shift in our earlier scheduled date. All the same, I am happy at yet another chance to take you through some of the activities carried out since we last met here.
As I said during a previous edition of this briefing, this monthly exercise is motivated by the desire to carry the citizens along as we strive to meet their expectations. And because this cannot happen without you, I implore you gentlemen of the press not to rest on your oars. It is only when you continue to complement our efforts through timely, accurate and wide coverage of these activities that we can truly achieve the ultimate goal of this briefing.
On this note, I invite you to follow me, once again, through these pages.
STATE EXCO MEETING
The last state EXCO meeting was held on November 4th, 2016 and some major issues were discussed, one of which was the Federal Governments approval of a Budget Support Facility for the state. Following this governments request for the facility, N14,160,000,000.00 was approved to enhance the execution of projects as contained in the budget and other dividends of democracy for the citizens.
The EXCO also approved the resolutions of the State Tenders Board meeting on award of contracts. Among the contracts approved were: maintenance works along Dokan Tofa and Dokan Kasuwa road, including culverts, drainages, stone pitching and river draining awarded to EEC International Ltd at N185,554,660.00; supply of 400 units of tractors (MF 375, 75 HP) and a set of implements (plough, harrow, ridges and trailers) awarded to Hakar Engineering LTD at N3,948,000,000.00; provision of a comprehensive Motor Insurance Premium cover for 50 government vehicles, awarded to NEM Insurance Plc at N50,619,841.20.
A second provision was made for a comprehensive Motor Insurance Premium cover for another set of 19 state government vehicles. This was awarded to Unity Capital Assurance Plc at N58,332,800.00.
Other resolutions arrived at were two bills to be presented to the State House of Assembly for enactment into law: A law to provide for the establishment of LGC in Plateau State, their structure, tenure, functions, finance, etc (as amended); and a law to establish the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, regulate and conduct L.G. Elections and for matters related thereto (as amended).
We mentioned during an earlier edition of this briefing that the state had adopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS) in line with the international benchmark for evaluating government accounting practices. We are happy to say that the report on movable and fixed assets of the state government has been received, which is one of the bases of the new IPSAS accrual accounting method.
You would recall that N14.07 billion was approved as budget support facility for the state. The state started drawing from the facility in June. The total collection to date is N6.370 billion with an outstanding N8.23 billion to be accessed.
The FAAC allocation for the state for September 2016 was N1,681,009,466.30. However, 1,326,301,922.52 was deducted as Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (IPSO) in respect of loans collected by the immediate past administration, leaving a balance of N354,707,543.78.
I wish to also inform you that the state government paid arrears of promotion and annual increments to civil servants, amounting to N205,211,360.53. This was paid alongside September 2016 salaries.
In addition, the state government has paid arrears of pensioners for April 2016, and has put in place the machinery to offset salaries and pension arrears by the end of 2016.
As at 31st September 2016, the debt profile of Plateau State stands at N108,036,671,275.68.
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Guided by the belief that government is a continuum, one of the goals of this administration is to complete projects inherited from the last administration. Consequently, on assumption of office, this administration took over the remodeling of the Plateau State Governors Lodge at Asokoro, Abuja which has now been completed, furnished and occupied.
Furthermore, government is also concerned about shelter for its citizens. In this regard, it has signed MoUs with developers under the Public Private Sector participation scheme to construct 22,500 housing units at nine sites. The Executive Governor has already approved the appointment of FHA Mortgage Bank, Abuja as the primary mortgage institution for the housing program to commence.
We are also happy to say that our desire to keep our roads motorable has been boosted with the arrival of two road patchers. These had earlier been procured by the ministry and are now ready for inspection.
I wish to inform you too that contract for the rehabilitation of the 6 km Angwan Rogo road network will soon be awarded, in addition to many others within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis.
WOMEN AFFAIRS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
In line with our plans for this sector, the rescue administration is committed to the realization of the vision of this ministry. It is especially supportive of activities that, among others, promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In this regard, it has supported the many efforts designed to protect the child, such as the formation of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on violence against children.
Furthermore, the ministry developed the State specific Priority Actions across sectors relevant to child protection, following which the final document was launched by the state governor in September 2016.
Training for MDAs, CSOs, CPN, FBOs and other stakeholders has also been undertaken in collaboration with UNICEF. This is aimed at equipping stakeholders with the skill to handle cases of violence against children in the state.
Also undertaken was social case work management both at the state and local government levels as follows: 42 family cases were recorded; 38 kindred cases were recorded; 7 cases were referred to child welfare department; 4 cases referred to court; 25 cases reached an understanding and maintenance allowances were fixed; 13 cases were handled to conclusion; while 15 cases are pending as investigation is ongoing.
Under its skills development program, the ministry trained nineteen people in different trades at the end of which they received some support for take off.
A partnership was also struck with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to train 60 women/youths in garment making and catering.
The ministry, in collaboration with the Plateau Aids Control Agency, assisted by the World Bank enrolled 50 Persons Living With HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children and care-givers for training in the following as a form of empowerment: Tailoring, knitting, shoe-making, catering, hair dressing and computer application. The beneficiaries were selected across the 17 local government areas.
WORKS AND TRANSPORT
You would recall that at inception, this administration deployed the lean finances at its disposal for the patching and rehabilitation of some major roads and streets in the Jos-Bukuru metropolis. This was undertaken by the Plateau State Roads Maintenance Agency in the total sum of N525,675,690.30.
Since then, the following new road contracts have been awarded, all totaling N3,980,969,215.78 billion: Rantya road network; Wildlife Park-Rafiki Junction and rehabilitation of Miango junction; Kalong bridge and road approaches; Plateau State University, Bokkos; Dokan Tofa-Dokan Kasuwa; and Total bridge in Shendam.
Furthermore, contract for 16 more road projects have been advertised. They are: Maraban Demshin-Shimankar road with spur to Shargan-Angwan Rina-Angwan Dadi Kalong-Nyak road; Dokan Tofa-Baap Kurgwi road with spurs to Lardan, Bwal, Kwoor and Tim; Shinkwan-Tunkus (Shendam bye pass) road; Wase-Kadarko-Dadinkowa road; Dengi-Bashar-Gajin Bashar road; Dengi-Kwalmiya Dugub-Gagdi road; Dawaki-Gyangyang-Seri-Amper road; and Lankang-Dyis-Kagu-Sihin road.
Others are: Mangu Bye Pass; Kuba-Tenti-Maunga-Daffo road;Kpsho-Chakarum-Kogom-Vwang road with spur to Vom Vet; Bet-Dorowa-Mazat-Kuba road with spur to Nding; Fobur-Naton-FursaMaijuju-Zandi road; Tahoss-Ganawuri road with spur to Dahreng; Wase-Mavo-Gimbi road; and Lohmak-Gazum with spur to Kumkwam.
As at July 2016, payment of approved CVs to some contractors for continuation of work on some ongoing projects amounted to N4,480,937,723.47. For the period under review, the sum of N602,000,000.00 has been paid, bringing the total payments and advances to N5,082,937,723.47.
Payments on award of three new road projects as of July 2016 is N699,654,617.42. For this period, N1,691,537,995.97 has been paid for three road projects and three direct labor works.
This brings the total expenditure for this period to N2,391,192,613.39, while the grand total to date is N7,999,806,027.16.
Also worthy of note is that, following the Governors approval for funds, electricity supply has been restored to the main building of the secretariat complex. You may wish to know that armored cables and other equipment were vandalized and stolen as the renovation of the complex was being carried out during the last administration.
LANDS, SURVEY AND TOWN PLANNING
This administrations support for the ministry is largely explained by its strategic role in our development plans. It would be recalled that Governor Simon Bako Lalong approved the completion of the Plateau Geographic Information System (PLAGIS) project, which was launched on June 10th, 2016. By this, applicants are no longer denied land titles as was the case in the last administration.
Furthermore, the Governor, at a stakeholders meeting on Effective Land Administration in Plateau also approved the downward review of rates by 50% for land titles. This is to encourage applicants to register their land titles.
In pursuance of governments industrialization goals, four (4) proposed industrial sites have been identified as contained within the Greater Jos Master Plan. And in order to underscore its policy on peace and security, a piece of land has been identified for a proposed Unity Layout at Naraguta, along Bauchi Road.
Another major highlight of the ministry’s activities is the issuance of Right of Occupancy to applicants. As it stands, a total of 485 of these have been issued.
On the whole, there is a remarkable increase in the tempo of activities in the ministry, with a resultant increase in the revenue generated as follows: June-December 2015, N61, 558,580.38; and January-September 2016, N114,508,387.48, all totaling N176,066,967.86.
ENVIRONMENT AND MINERALS DEVELOPMENT
This administrations desire to maximize the potential of our environment and nudge us onto the path of mineral development is not in doubt.
You would recall that a state of emergency was declared on the environment at the inception of this administration, whereupon a task force was instituted to clear the heaps of refuse within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis.
Subsequently, the monthly environmental sanitation was re-introduced and has since been sustained.
In keeping faith with its plans for this sector, N30,000,000.00 being counterpart fund was released to enable Plateau State benefit from the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management (NEWMAP) project of the World Bank. On its part, the World Bank has released $2 million for the programme which will soon be launched by the Executive Governor.
The state is also expected to reap, in no distant future, the benefit of the North-Central Nigeria Business and Investment Forum which was held in Guanzhou, China earlier in the year. Already, different groups of Chinese investors have come into the state and are prospecting for minerals in various locations.
Gentlemen of the press, with this, it is my honor to draw the curtain on this months briefing. I thank my colleagues in the various ministries whose support continues to make this exercise a success. I also thank the media, especially, because, all said and done, you are the vital link between what we say here and the people for whom this event is all about.
Long live Plateau State.
Long live Nigeria.
Thank you and God bless.