When Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State assumed office on 29th May, 2015 he was very clear as to what his focus was. He left no one in doubt about his ability to deliver on promises made.
Side view of the Secretariat
Among key strategic projects he had in mind was the need for Delta State to have a befitting Central Secretariat Complex in Asaba. It was a well thought out project, given the fact that since the creation of Delta State in 1991, many Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government have been operating from rented buildings scattered all over the State capital.The project becomes more laudable when viewed against the reality that most of the rented buildings were designed and constructed for residential purposes and, therefore, not suitable for office use.
The multi-billion naira secretariat is a modern architectural complex of six floors expected to accommodate 27 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State. It covers a land area of over 40,000 square metres and is situated between the new and the old secretariat (now Olorogun Felix Ibru Secretariat), along Maryam Babangida Road, Asaba.
The new edifice now completed, stand as a testimony of a visionary leadership laced with taste and beauty. The secretariat complex is the first public building with elevator systems and disability access.Hence, the secretariat is not just new but also modern. It is a project that defines and shapes the Okowa’s administration. A master piece of an architectural edifice. A landmark project.
In line with an agenda that has prosperity for all Deltans as target, the secretariat is expected to enhance coordination and synergy among the various MDAs leading to efficient and cost-effective governance.
However, in addition to the uniqueness of the secretariat was the financial template adopted by the Okowa administration. It was such that the project was financed partly in dollars and partly in naira.Recalled that the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA), had authorized the financing of the proposed Central Secretariat Complex, Asaba, at a negotiated amount of N13, 645,131,243.47 by North China Construction Group Limited, on a contractor-financing basis. The project was financed by borrowings in the region of N8 billion and the naira equivalent of $18.5 million, in line with the terms and conditions of agreement.
As reflected in the terms and conditions, Delta State Government was to guarantee the loan of N8 billion obtained by North China Construction Group Limited (NCCG) from the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and to issue an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO).
A public affairs analyst in the state who spoke to the writer recently noted, that the mix of both currencies was a good hedging strategy in risk mitigation, which means that all the adverse increments in exchange rates affected less than 30 per cent of the total value of the contract.“I have seen the secretariat many times but to stand in front of that structure really puts me in awe. It was an unforgettable experience when I viewed the secretariat through front and back rear of the building and l discovered a vision behind its history. Don’t miss seeing the secretariat at night when it’s lit up.
“From what I can see, 90 per cent of the workers at the site were sourced locally, this is what gives me joy and the contractors are doing a good job. A centralized office complex will help to save cost and time. It is difficult moving round Asaba in search of government offices. This is a laudable project,” he stressed.
The secretariat was a commitment to openness, transparency and serving the public interests. The ultra-modern edifice was a commitment of Okowa’s administration towards ensuring the viability and purposeful administration and coordination of governance in the state.The new secretariat is expected to accommodate the staff of various units and departments of government.
Okowa’s administration is already yielding positive results, from road rehabilitation – rural, urban and trunk, to the stadium redevelopment, facilitating electrification, restoring water supply, etc.
The secretariat which is already completed will provide a suitable atmosphere for the workers to guarantee optimum production when commissioned.
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: Ultra-Modern Central Secretariat, Governor Okowa’s Master Stroke