Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has scored his administration high in its empowerment programme.
The governor in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 had said, the performance of his administration would be predicated on a SMART agenda which is an acronym for Strategic Wealth Creation Projects and Provision of Jobs for all Deltans; Meaningful Peace Building Platforms aimed at Political and Social Harmony; Agricultural Reforms and Accelerated Industrialization; Relevant Health and Education Policies; Transformed Environment through Urban Renewal.
Addressing a press conference on 07/02/17, in Asaba, Governor Okowa said, “I came in with the SMART Agenda and I have continued to stay on course despite the economic recession; yes I agree that we are supposed to move much faster than we are doing today, but, the fact remains that though the economy is bad we have continued to keep hope alive and to do that which we have been able to do and we will continue to stay focused on our programs.”
He specifically, observed that his administration has done a lot in the area of job creation, stating, “realizing that we need to create jobs for our unemployed youths, realizing that we need to grow the private sector and we are growing through the micro credit support and some other programs we have been running in the course of our governance.”
“In the year 2015 we had two main programs for the youths; the Youth Agriculture and Entrepreneurialship Program(YAGEP) and in that year we had 256 youths that were trained in agricultural production and we are happy to announce that they have all been established; we have visited some of them and they are doing very well and we are glad to announce the success of the program,” he said, adding, “in the Skills Training and Entrepreneurialship Program (STEP) we engaged 1044 youths and we have had a continued monitoring and mentoring program; we have created a mentoring and monitoring office and the reports we have received have been very positive.”
Continuing, the governor disclosed, “in the year 2016 YAGEP program, we trained 342 persons while in the STEP program, we trained 557 persons; the programs had their starter packs put in place and we had a microcredit adjustment because we believe that if we continue to meet the people’s need, things will be better for them, so, while we are providing them with starter packs, we are also introducing them to work with the microcredit scheme.”
“We have also started a program for people with disabilities, they have been engaged in the programs and they are currently doing very well; we also had the graduate employment enhancement scheme; most of the youths in the agricultural scheme are in clusters because we realized that it was the best way and we have been doing very well with the cluster system,” he emphasized.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa also confirmed that the sum of N100 million was disbursed to the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH), Oghara, while another N100 million would be released in the next couple of weeks, in line with his administration’s drive to position Delta State as a preferred destination for medical tourism.
According to Okowa: “We are giving a grant of N100 million naira to the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DESUTH), Oghara to enable them put it in a more favourable state,” the governor said, stating that his administration was not relenting in the funding of the health sector.
“We commissioned the Abavo hospital and Ogidigben where work was suspended, work has resumed and we are also doing renovation work in Bomadi hospital and Agbor Central hospital; the Delta State Health Contributory Commission is fully established and key personnel have been appointed and as at today we have commenced registration and rendering of services to our pregnant women and children under 5 in our various secondary health institutions,” the governor said, disclosing, “as at today, we have registered over 4,312 pregnant women and 8,546 children and are assessing treatment through the health Commission.”
He added, “affordable premium and percentage contributions is also being worked out by the committee put up for such purpose and it is my hope that by the end of this month, we will be able to have the final amount that will be chargeable to our citizens, because, it is a contributory process; while the government will support, the individuals will have to pay a minimum amount, but all these is also after we have actually conducted studies to find the range of money that can be paid, to enable the people access this health service.”
The governor who stood for more than two hours addressing Journalists, reiterated that, “the ICT (information communication technology) platform is also being put in place for the health commission for its efficiency; the school of Nursing which looks very basic is also very important, and for the first time, we have a law acknowledging the school of Nursing and Midwifery; it will be one of the prerequisite needed for the final accreditation of schools of nursing and midwifery and it may interest you to know that we have operated for over 20 years without the law; and it is a thing of joy that we now have a law establishing the school of nursing and midwifery and it is our hope that within the year, we will be able to have full accreditation and registration for the schools.”
Governor Okowa also disclosed that in his administration’s commitment to partnering with the private sector, “the Ministry of Health has entered into an MoU with the Novena University, they want to use our facilities for their medical school and this is because we are open to partnership with the private sector and we are doing that to enhance the possibilities of our children being able to access medical schools