• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Sim, new Rivers governor, unveils economic direction; social housing, others


The new governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, has in his inaugural speech, pointed to his economic direction. In so doing, the long dropped Port Harcourt Ring Road, is back and will become his administration’s big ticket project.

Speaking at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Fubara also mentioned social housing scheme as another upcoming signpost of his administration.

By social, he mentioned low-cost housing which may mean that government would spend to help those who may not be able to afford to benefit.

BusinessDay gathered that Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his inner team had planned to surprise the people of the state with the ring road round the garden city but he was not allowed to contest the 2007 election.

The man who contested and won, Celestine Omehia, announced the ring road project estimated then at N150bn, and he in fact, began to put funds aside every month in case banks did not agree to fund. Omehia was thrown out by the Supreme Court in October of 2007, five months into office and was replaced with Amaechi.

When he looked at the project and found it not viable anymore, he announced the monorail project in its place, which too was estimated at N150bn but was to be funded mostly by a private funder (who later pulled out due to the 2008 global meltdown).

Read also: I will not fail you – Fintiri pledges to Adamawa residents

Today, the monorail has been abandoned after spending up to N50bn with most of the coaches lying waste at the port.

Now, Fubara has announced return of the Port Harcourt Ring Road, which may not be below N400bn by today’s costs.

Unveiling his general direction, Fubara said: “We know that most of our citizens are affected by the prevailing difficulty orchestrated by the poor state of our national economy. While some of these economic challenges are beyond us, we understand our responsibility to take relevant measures to diversify our economy and insulate it from the hard waves.

“Accordingly, we will prioritise the wellbeing of our state and our citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects, and social services. We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a regime that will attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and upgrade our citizens livelihood.”

He said his administration would adopt the re-industrialisation policy masterplan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.

“We will also support the development of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization, and improve living standards for our citizens. We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructural development in the last eight years but there is still more to do,” he said.

The new governor said they would follow the footsteps of the leader (Nyesom Wike) to invest in capital projects. These include more roads, more bridges, electricity supply to rural areas and social housing for civil servants and low-income earners.

“The need for interconnecting roads in the state, the need for affordable and safe public transportation cannot be over-emphasised as Rivers State continues to grow and expand in its boundary.

“We will therefore, partner with the private sector to develop and integrate inter-modular public transportation system to advance mobility and access to economic social opportunities across the state. We will also construct, very importantly and as a landmark achievement that my administration will want to make, we will construct a Port Harcourt ring road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the state,” he said.