Fubara laments challenges of governing Rivers, says he inherited N200bn debt on uncompleted projects from Wike

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara has lamented the challenges he is facing governing the state as he highlighted his achievements in infrastructure development, reporting that he inherited 34 uncompleted projects worth over 200 billion naira across various Local Government Areas from his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.

The governor who scored his administration high in the past year despite facing what he called an unprecedented political challenge in the state, spoke during a public presentation of his account of stewardship in the past year on Wednesday.

He said some of the uncompleted projects have been completed by his administration, while others are ongoing.

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Governor Fubara reflected on the political crisis that erupted shortly after his inauguration, noting that his administration truly began active governance just four months ago.

In addition to that, Governor Fubara announced that his administration initiated nine new road projects, including the ambitious Port Harcourt Ring Road and Trans-Kalabari Road, valued at over N500 billion in total within the period under review.

He said only the Port Harcourt Ring Road is being financed through borrowed funds, with the rest funded from accumulated savings by his administration.

Economy & Security
Governor Fubara boasted of tactfully increasing Rivers State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N12 billion to about N28 billion per month, improving the ease of doing business and reporting a decrease in crime rates.

He detailed his efforts to build investor confidence and reduce reliance on federal allocations by establishing an IGR advisory team, which he chairs.

He said the team has driven significant revenue increases, ranging from N17 billion during off-peak periods to N28 billion during peak periods.

To further bolster the economy, the Governor mentioned a N40 billion matching fund with the Bank of Industry, providing loans at a single-digit interest rate for five years.

He also expressed commitment to prompt payment of salary, which he said has increased from N5.6 billion to N8.3 billion due to a long-overdue promotion exercise of 11 years.

He said pensions and gratuities are paid promptly as well.

Education & Healthcare

Governor Fubara reported that his administration has invested over N25 billion in education and healthcare development in the past year, adding that more will be done in the coming months to improve nothing sectors which are in critical conditions.

So far, Governor Fubara said he has facilitated the completion of several schools across the state, threatening to use the anti-graft agency against political opponents withholding project funds.

He also announced the support for various educational initiatives.

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“We spent N2,663,122,500.00 for the supply of textbooks to all levels of education in the Rivers State school system, N1,404,367,000.00 for 2023 West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE); N973,581,675.00 for 2023 SSCE (NECO) Examination; N369,127,000.00 for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE); N1,149,849,700.00 for 2024 WASSCE; N606,287,000.00 for 2024 BECE; N16,194,000.00 for NABTEB, and N190,000,000.00 for the purchase of consumables, chemicals and science practical materials for 2024 WASSCE/NECO examinations.

“We also paid N423,000,00.00 scholarship fund for Rivers State Indigenous medical Students studying at the Rivers State University; and N1,000,000,000.00 special grant to the Rivers State University,” Fubara explained.

In healthcare, the Governor said he has completed about 10 medical infrastructure projects and spent over N200 million to combat a Lassa fever outbreak.

He added that 35 primary healthcare centres are currently operational across the state.

“Shortly after we came into office, we commissioned the Kelsy Harrisson Memorial Hospital and the Dental, Maxillo-facia, ENT, and Ophthalmology hospital for public use. We spent the sum of N179,000,000.00 and N112,957,619.13 respectively to provide repairs, materials, and solar electricity installations before commissioning.

“We spent the sum of N720,074,893.80 on sundry equipment and materials, including neurosurgical tools at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH); N100,000,000.00 for additional 100-bed spaces for the Orthopaedics, Trauma, Surgical Wards in RSUTH; N93,000,000.00 to expand and equip the Intensive Care Unit in RSUTH by 12-beds; and N343,131,248.14 to construct a 400-capacity auditorium at the School of Nursing/Midwifery;

“We spent N300,000,000.00 for accreditation purposes, and N90,000,000.00 for the repair of radiology equipment; established a burns treatment and care unit, a modular surgical theatre, a pathology laboratory at the RSUTH, and spent N90,000,000.00 to provide House Officer’s residence, which prompted the Medical and Dental Councill of Nigeria to increase the number of House Officers approved for the hospital from 64 to 96.

“We also launched the take-off of the contributory health insurance scheme and provided N70,000,000.00 take-off grant to the Board; revitalized the Rivers State emergency services, and spent N157,423,845.00 on medical emergencies; N200,000,000.00 million naira for the control of Lassa fever outbreak in the State; and renovated 35 primary healthcare centres through the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Board,” he said.

During an Interactive Session, Governor Fubara addressed questions about the 10,000 civil service jobs, revealing that 60% of the initial names were over-aged and politically motivated.

He revised the list to include individuals aged 30-35. He also promised to pay bursaries to students. However, he declined to comment on the state of the Mother and Child Hospital and the Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease and Diagnosis Centre, both built by the previous administration.

Governor Fubara concluded the event by unveiling his administration’s scorecard and promising to achieve even more in the coming year. He reaffirmed his goal of making Rivers State one of the best in Nigeria.

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