Abia gives condition which oil companies must meet before doing business in the state

Posted by News Express | 19 June 2016 | 3,795 times

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The Abia State Government has warned that it would not sign any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with any firm intending to invest in the oil sector in Abia, if such a company would not establish its corporate office in the state.

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who disclosed this during a town hall meeting with the people of Ikwuano/Umuahia on Friday, also explained that his administration was paying attention to Aba to open up the commercial city to grow the revenue profile of the state.

The town hall meeting, the third in the series, was held at Apumiri Ubakala, for people from Ikwuano, Umuahia North and Umuahia South Local Government Areas (LGA) to interact with the governor.

Ikpeazu said the meeting provided opportunity for him to submit himself to the authority of the electorate who voted him into office to ask him questions on his activities for the past one year he has been in office.

Responding to a question on why Abia was not being given adequate mention in the on-going negotiations between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta states, Ikpeazu dispelled the notion in some quarters as to whether Abia was still part of the Niger Delta states.

The governor expressed dismay that Abia was not reaping the full dividends of the crude oil deposited in Owaza in Ukwa West LGA due to the operational system of oil firms exploring and exploiting oil in the state.

“Our problem is that some of our oil fields are being considered as marginal oilfields. Firms exploiting our oil constitute another problem as they build their corporate offices outside the state. We have informed them that such a practice should stop. We want them to site their head offices in Umuahia or Aba and operate from there or we would not sign any MoU with the company,” Ikpeazu said.

He told the people that three firms have indicated interest in building refineries in the state, adding, “and we are doing everything to encourage it.” The latest among the companies is Hyundai, the South Korean motor manufacturing firm.

The governor said more roads and street lights were being built and installed in Aba because it was the commercial capital of the state where more revenue could be generated to drive the economy of the state given the dwindling share of the state from the federation account.

“We are known for trade and commerce, as well as agriculture. Our main markets are located at Aba and Umuahia and that informed our road construction efforts in the three senatorial zones. We have done over 18 roads in Aba. If we develop Aba, we would be able to collect tax and improve on our internally generated revenue and this will help us to take our destinies in our hands,” he said.

He promised that streetlights would be installed in major markets in all the local governments across the state to extend business hours.

He told farmers that the state has received N1 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost agriculture in the state, stressing that he would work out modalities with stakeholders for disbursing the loan to real farmers.

He said that government would provide tractors to assist farmers clear their farmlands in a bid to encourage mechanised farming and provide fertiliser at subsidised rate while rural access roads leading to the farms and mineral deposits, where youths could be meaningfully engaged, would be built.

“I assure you that any access road that would lead to where our youths would be gainfully engaged would be classified as priority roads and must be constructed,” Ikpeazu said.

Responding to a plea to lift the ban on commercial tricycle (Keke) operations to enable them work beyond 7pm, the governor said the ban would be lifted immediately the Keke operators comply with security measures that would ensure safety of their passengers at night.

“We did not deliberately ban Keke from operating beyond 7 pm. We discovered that some Keke operators were committing atrocities with their tricycles which informed the ban. Then we requested for biometric identification of Keke operators, provide security numbers for and uniform painting of the tricycles to enable government to determine the numerical strength of Keke operators in the state. But the operators have kicked against these measures and if they continue, we will introduce measures to protect the public because my interest is to protect the majority of Abians. We are ready to lift the ban if the operators will comply,” he added.

Ikpeazu directed the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji, to ensure that a secondary school was established for the deaf in the state before December this year to save Abia indigenes the agony of going to such schools in other states and promised to appoint an aide who would represent people with disabilities in his administration.

The governor said steps were being taken to ameliorate the plight of pensioners who were being owed arrears of pensions and gratuities, saying he hopes that things would get better by December. While admonishing teachers in the state to be dedicated to their duties, he expressed gratitude to Abians, particularly the civil servants for their understanding.

Photo shows Governor Ikpeazu.

Source: News Express

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