Obaseki Frets over Poor Execution of Projects

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has expressed dissatisfaction with the poor handling of projects executed by the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOPADEC) in the last six years.

Obaseki expressed his dissatisfaction when he received the Engineering Audit of EDSOPADEC’s projects from 2011 to 2017, noting that it was discouraging that the commission failed in its mandate to utilise funds to ameliorate developmental challenges in oil producing communities.

“I am not happy that of the funds for projects made available to the commission only 30 per cent was put to use, while similar commission at the regional level had only expended 10 per cent of funds for project execution,” Obaseki said.

He explained, “These commissions that were supposed to build alternative economies and assist oil and gas producing communities to prepare for a time when crude oil resources would be exhausted, have not done enough for the communities. “This is unacceptable. Hence, we will not constitute new board for EDSOPADEC until we clean up the system. We will invite contractors who abandoned projects and where there is need for the contractors to return funds meant for projects we will not relent until such funds are fully recovered.”

Obaseki mandated the permanent secretaries in the state’s ministries of Infrastructure and Urban & Regional Planning, to review the audit report submitted by the Development Engineering Konsult Limited and develop a white paper thereafter.

According to him, “There is need for baseline study of the oil and gas producing communities in order to develop economic master plans for the development of the communities. The state has developed a tripartite arrangement for project execution in oil and gas producing communities, which would involve the companies, host communities and government.”

Representative of Development Engineering Konsult Limited, Engineer Sylvester Osara, who presented the audit report to the governor, noted that between 2011 and 2017, a total of 117 projects were executed and completed by EDSOPADEC in oil and gas producing communities across Orhionmwon, Ikpoba -Okha and Ovia North East local government areas.

Osara noted that 46 out of the 117 projects either failed or were vandalised, while 44 other projects were abandoned across the three local government areas.

He said there was need for assessment to be carried out before execution of projects, noting that such would allow host communities own and maintain projects in their areas. He added that in constituting the EDSOPADEC board, there should be an arrangement for a technical staff, which will provide room for joint validation of projects by all parties involved.