Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has inaugurated the State’s Economic Council.
The governor inaugurated the Council on Friday, August 28.
Okowa charges members to institute strong, credible and enduring platforms for diversification of the economy, including enhancing business competitiveness.
The Council, headed by the Deputy Governor, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, has Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, as Secretary.
At the ceremony in Asaba, the governor urged the council to proffer viable alternatives to building strong public-private partnerships. He urged members to formulate policies that promote institutional transparency and accountability. These efforts, Delta governor stated should include systematic disclosure of accurate and reliable financial information.
He also tasked the body to ensure predictability of policies that would create confidence in the investing public and provide innovative strategies for expanding the tax base and improving the efficiency of tax administration.
According to him, the council is also to initiate reforms aimed at strengthening public financial management systems. This includes budget management, mid-year budget reviews designed to align annual budgets to emerging trends.
Delta governor said that the inauguration of the council complies with the Council Law Cap D14, Laws of Delta State 2008. He explained that constituting the council was one of the many steps his administration takes in building a Stronger Delta.
He stated that the council was empowered to formulate and prepare long term, medium term and short term development plans for the state and local governments within the framework of the national objectives and priorities, “and transmit the same to the National Planning Commission’’.
“As with the other sub-national governments and the national government, our economic situation is regrettably still fragile, depending largely on oil earnings and, therefore, vulnerable to price volatility and commodity booms and busts.
“Let me stress that we must continue to improve our credibility rating on issues concerning transparency and accountability. This should not only be among our people but also in the eyes of the business and investment community if we are to mobilize the level of support and partnership required to actualise our Stronger Delta vision.
“We must also continue to rationalise expenditures, maximise value for money and ensure good project selection to enhance judicious allocation of resources,” the governor said.
He recalled that the average annual growth rate in the State from 2013 to 2015 was 8.9 per cent, but that it had accelerated to an annual average of 13.2 per cent from 2015 to 2017.
DELTA SURPASSES ECONOMIC INDEX AVERAGE
Okowa said “Delta did not only surpass the national average on both indices of economic development, but climbed up the rung in the rank of states, especially in the poverty-to-population ratio.
“Lagos led the chart (4.5 per cent) of prosperous states on poverty-to-population ratio followed closely by Delta (6.0 per cent). Delta took a leap forward in terms of the number of people who migrated from poverty-to-prosperity including depleting unemployment market.
“The Delta State economy is, therefore, well-positioned for inclusivity and sustainable development.
“For instance, our model job creation scheme has produced multiple benefits and impacts in tackling youth unemployment. It has prevented youth restiveness, stimulated agricultural sector and promoted micro and small enterprises.
“We are committed to sustaining this momentum in the
“Delta 2020-2023 Medium-Term Development Plan that will be unveiled to the public soon has been finalized. This second plan encapsulates the strategic imperatives of our Stronger Delta mantra.
“Our goal remains to grow the economy in a manner that is rapid, inclusive and Sustainable.”
He congratulated members. Okowa admonished them that the zeal to contribute to the State economic development should be guided.
Responding on behalf of members. Commissioner for Finance, Chief Fidelis Tilije, commended the governor for his governance proactive steps.
He expressed confidence about the Council’s ability to “take right steps” for operational economic processes and procedures for Delta development.”
Members of the council are Commissioners for Trade and Investment, Chief Chika Ossai; Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah and Justice, Mr Peter Mrakpor; Commissioner for Transport, Mr Oviemuno Oghoore.
Others are Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye; Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie; Chairmen of the 25 local government councils; Permanent Secretary, Local Government; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning; Representative of the Delta State Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (DACCIMA) and Representative of Delta State Economic Recovery Advisory Council (DERAC).