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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

"The days of positive change has finally come," says Abia State Commissioner, Dr. Gabe Igboko

Abia State Commissioner of Environment and Solid Minerals Development Dr. Gabe Igboko has identified 'positive change as the matrix and solution that has started oiling the sudden growth in the solid minerals development sector in the state.'

Igboko said this while

speaking to newsmen on changes in departmental re-structuring recently made by the Governor of Abia State Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu which has now positioned his ministry on the path of revenue generating success in the state.

According to him the separation of the department of Solid Minerals Development and it's functions from the state Ministry of Petroleum by the sitting governor, is surely in the interest of the state, whose positive development impact is already making waves in the generation of revenue for the state.

He said further that before now, revenue coming into the coffers of the state from the solid minerals sector has been as minimal as N2m annually whereas in the little time that he assumed office and concessioner-red some part of the department's duties out, revenues generated has started making impact and would soon manifest in repair of roads leading to the excavating sites and development of quarry areas and so on. Already, employment opportunities are being felt among youths in these areas. The Commissioner added that, he is sure that those who intend to pose as resistants to change in the new revenue drive of the government by hoping to still be looting government expected income in these areas, are living in the past.

Also buttressing the Commissioner's point afterwards Engr. Tom Okoro, a Director of flood and erosion control, in the same ministry, supported these changes as laudable. According to him, "yes, we are experiencing changes here, until now, we were just Ministry of Environment but now we are Ministry of Environment and Solid Minerals Development. The change came due to the need to organise the environment and solid minerals department with an enabling law. Secondly most issues about solid mineral development is interwoven with environment, quarry, excavations, dredging and so on. To operate on solid minerals at any site, there is need for environmental impact assessment, which most often is continuous. Thirdly, the recession and glut in the oil industry has also necessitated the inward look for change in the sector. Every government is looking into new areas of generating revenue to help the economy. The governor in his wisdom, merged these two departments that compliment one another."

"I'm definitely positive that this change is in the right direction. It is going to make our job easier and integrated. We are well prepared for this, we are already on ground and have actually hit the ground running. For instance, before now, the IGR that was coming from the solid minerals department was nothing to write home about. We were earning as low as N2m annually from the solid minerals department. But with these new changes and the signing of a valid contract with a viable concessionaire known as MumProjects headed by Dr. Chuma Igbokwe, we have suddenly seen a voluminous increase in income accruing to the state government's coffer from that department. We are satisfied with these new changes.

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