Abakaliki – The Ebonyi government on Thursday, inaugurated a 72-member committee saddled with the responsibility of realising its objectives on cement production.
The committee, headed by Chief Fidelis Nwankwo, former Minister of State for Health, has a former Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu as member.
Inaugurating the committee in Abakaliki, Gov. Dave Umahi urged the members to liaise with investors who are interested in harnessing the limestone deposits in the state.
The governor, who represented by his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, urged the committee to negotiate with the investors on behalf of the government and people of the state.
“Your task of revitalising the moribund Nigeria Cement Company in Nkalagu should be concluded by Nov. 30, as we want to harness the rich limestone potentials of the state.
“The people have found you competent and resourceful to perform this task.
“The government has released the sum of N5 million to enable you effectively discharge your functions,” he said.
Umahi urged the committee to ensure that the state was not short-changed during negotiations with the investors, adding that the interest of the state should be promoted.
“You should deploy all business strategies at your disposal because you are going to negotiate with business-minded individuals and groups.
“Whenever the state is short-changed, we will tell the people that you are the cause of the failure, as we have utmost confidence in your abilities to deliver.
“We are aware that incidentals might arise from the negotiations which made us include some members of the state executive council in the committee to provide easy access to the government,” he said.
He said that the government was desirous to enhance its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which made it place less emphasis on allocation from the federation account.
“Several states in the country which harnessed their natural resources realise about N6 billion monthly from IGR but Ebonyi battles to generate between N150 million to 60 million monthly,” he said.
In his remarks, Chief Sunday Ugwuocha, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Cement and Salt Production said that the incumbent administration on inception, constitute a steering committee on cement production.
“The committee has submitted its report to the state executive council which necessitated the inauguration of this implementation committee on cement production,” he said.
The chairman of the committee, Chief Fidelis Nwankwo, thanked the governor for finding the members worthy of serving in such capacity and pledged to justify the confidence reposed in them.
“The calibre of personalities in the committee will ensure the realisation of set objectives; as it has dawned on the people that oil is a perishable commodity,” he said. (NAN)