Nigeria’s oil and gas industry has lost huge investments due to the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said.

The Delta State Government will next week Tuesday inaugurate the completed Ovwor-Olomu-Effurun-Otor bridge in Ughelli South Local Government Area.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu shortly after inspecting the project at Effurun-Otor. Aniagwu also inspected the rehabilitation of Otu-Jeremi-Okwagbe Road and the Construction of Okwagbe-Otutuama-Esaba Road Phase 1 in Ughelli South Local Government Area.

The commissioner stated that the state government was delighted with the successful completion of the bridge using indigenous contractors. He recalled that less than two weeks ago the government began “harvests of projects” which had been completed.

“Ahead of the inauguration of next round of projects, we have come to take a look at the readiness of the contractors to welcome His Excellency, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to the unveiling of the projects.

“Going round these projects, I can tell you that I am very proud of being a member of this government.

“We are proud because we have seen some indigenous contractors being able to deliver as much as those international contractors.

“What makes us proud is what we have done using indigenous contractors because it has not been easy with the local contractors, but today, we have seen what Obakpor Engineering has done with the Ovwor-Effurun-Otor Bridge,” he said.

Aniagwu remarked that the advantage of using indigenous contractors was two-fold, noting that it had demonstrated the capacity of the contractors to compete with those from outside the shores of the country

He added that the use of local contractors had also reduced capital flight because the majority of the workforce engaged by the indigenous companies were Nigerians and the majority of them were Deltans.

“The more we engage these qualified indigenous contractors the more we are able to build capacity to compete even within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

“The more projects they execute, the more funds available to them to purchase machinery, and the more they are able to train their staff to international standard.

“We are happy that in about five days from now, these projects will be inaugurated by His Excellency, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa in company with the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki, for the use of our people and the good of humanity.”

The Commissioner also commended the Ughelli South Council Chairman, Dr Richard Kofi, for using youths trained under the council’s skill acquisition programme to execute the interlocking of the internal roads within the council’s secretariat.

“We are proud of what Dr Kofi has done in this council using youths trained in interlocking, and what makes the project unique is because those who executed the job were trained by the council.

“You will recall that over 6,000 Deltans have been trained in various skills and given starter-packs to become entrepreneurs, and what Kofi has done here is in line with our prosperity mantra and local content initiative,” Aniagwu stated.

Kofi, who conducted the commissioner round the council premises, stated that he was attracted to governance because he wanted to care for the youths, the less-privileged and the poor in the society. He said that his administration targeted the training of 3,000 persons but was able to train 850 in interlocking, bag and shoemaking.

“When we started we didn’t promise starter-packs; so, there was apathy until the state government came to our aid.

“Many of the trainees are now entrepreneurs and now employing others.

“The benefit of using those trained for interlocking to execute the internal road project was a reduction in cost and it provided them with job and experience,” Kofi added.

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