By Jonathan Ugbal
The Commissioner for Special Duties and Projects in Cross River State, Victor Agwu has blamed the slow pace of project execution on the dwindling allocation the state receives and current economic situation plaguing the country.
“The economy worldwide especially in Nigeria is not in a good shape, therefore the financing of projects across the states is grossly affected and so the case of the (Cross River) Ministry of Special Projects and Duties is not different” Agwu says, insisting that though most of the projects under his ministry were initiated by past administrations, the current one is focused on ensuring that all are working.
Agwu who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch says though there are new projects that have and will be initiated, the ministry is currently focusing on the ongoing ones. He also explained the reason for the slow pace of work on some of the projects.
“As we came onboard, we inherited projects that had been financed midway. For the new projects, some investors have come (to partner on the projects), we are just waiting for the budget to be assented to so that we can have these projects on board.
“People might be right if they question why those projects have not been completed, I hasten also to add that the reasons for one is purely finance, some have contractual hiccups that need to be cleared in terms of variations and all that but we have met with the contractors and discussed with them, everything is now at an advanced stage.
“Particularly, the auditorium (New Cafeteria complex) at CRUTECH, financing has been sourced between CRUTECH, the contractors and the state government where we have reached an agreement and we are sure that very soon, work in that place will start.
“The indoor sports hall which is the multi purpose sports hall has its own challenges too; contractors have imported some materials that are presently at the wharf in Port Harcourt that needs to be cleared out. Like I said, there are some contractual disagreements that need to be sorted out and we are very sure that in no distant time these issues will be worked out.”
Clearing the air on the monorail issues, Agwu says the decision to shorten the distance from its original plan starting from the Margaret Ekpo International Airport was not taken by the present administration led by Governor Ben Ayade but was quick to add that “The main issue was financing and it has not been jettisoned. I can assure Cross Riverians that the monorail will be commissioned sooner than later.”
On the argument that the Tinapa project is a white elephant, Agwu averred that, “Tinapa is not a white elephant project, it has called the attention of the world to this state whether you believe it or not, Cross River is in the world map of tourism today, part of which is because of Tinapa and the government of Senator Professor Ben Ayade is interested in giving Tinapa a bright future and that is why the management is been overhauled to ensure effective and efficient management.”
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