From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Ethiope East Local Government Council of Delta State has unveiled a 20-year economic development plan with the objective of reducing the over dependence on federal allocation to sustain the council.
The plan which was unveiled during an economic summit held at Agbon, is also geared towards attracting investment to the area to boost the council’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Speaking at the summit, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa commended the council for the initiative, saying that the state government would continue to support and partner with councils with viable economic development plans.
Represented by his Chief Economic Adviser, the governor advised the council to aquire lands to boost agricultural produce so as to improve the revenue of the council.
According to him, the state government has constructed over 789 roads and over 908 kilometers drain to support the movement of farm produce across the state.
He enjoined the council to engage the services of various security agencies and local vigilante to maintain peace as prerequisite for the influx of investors.
Chairman of the council, Victor Ofobrukueta explained that the summit would redirect the minds of the people of the area not to rely only on government for every thing, stating that the plan would be a continuous process, and urged all stakeholders to adopt it for the purpose of continuity and sustainability from one transition to another.
He said: “I decided to take this part because I have under studied my local government for the past six years from Supervisor for Health to Leader of the Legislative Arm, and within this time frame when oil price slashed drastically and local government salaries were owed for several months.
“It is my amiable Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa that was augmenting what was coming from the federation account so that we would be able to pay wages of our staff because we didn’t even have the financial capacity to pay wage bill of our staff which include primary school teachers and council staff.”
Other speakers at the summit including traditional rulers and private sector participants commended the council for the initiative but insisted on the need to strengthen security to make the area investment friendly.