The Bayelsa State Government has restated its commitment to commencement of work on the Nembe-Brass Senatorial road project in line with its policy of completing inherited projects across the state.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made this known when a group known as the Progressives of the Central Senatorial District of Bayelsa State, paid him a courtesy visit at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, on Thursday, Senator Ewhrudjakpo explained that abandoning any meaningful inherited project was tantamount to wasting the scarce resources of the state.
According to the Deputy Governor, government’s desire is to ensure that the Nembe-Brass Road continues at the same pace with the ongoing Sagbama-Ekeremor and Yenagoa-Oporoma road projects.
He said the Governor Douye Diri-led government had already taken some far reaching steps towards the take-off of the Nembe-Brass Senatorial road project.
These include redesigning of the project as well as completion of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) to mitigate its effect on the area.
But considering the capital-intensive nature of the project, he disclosed that government had entered talks with the Federal Ministry of Finance on possible ways to involve multinational oil companies operating in the area in funding the multi-billion naira project.
According to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, the state government had already suggested that the Nembe-Brass Road be funded under what is known as Tax Infrastructure Rebate Project to enable multinational companies enjoy tax holiday during the period of its construction.
He commended the group for their steadfastness, courage and show of true statesmanship, and assured them of the present administration’s readiness to work with them.
His words, “On the issue of the Nembe-Brass Road that you raised, clearly there were some issues about it,. But we have almost sorted them out. The only problem we have is that resources are not available.
“But we are still working hard. If you will recall, just recently we have started talking to the Federal Ministry of Finance to do what we call Tax Infrastructure Rebate Project.
“So, AGIP, SHELL, AITEO and all other companies operating within that area will have a tax holiday in exchange for helping us to construct the road. That process is on because we don’t have all the resources.
“We are working around those issues to ensure we get the Nembe-Brass Road not only up and running, but also keep it going at the same velocity as the Sagbama-Ekeremor and the Yenagoa-Oporoma roads. We have that as a top priority.
“We have already done a redesign of some of the areas because some of the earlier designs were not very amenable. We have also done an EIA to take care of environment impacts issues that the project may throw up,” he said
Speaking earlier on behalf of the Progressives of the Central Senatorial District of Bayelsa State, Engineer Charles Ambaiowei, lauded the Prosperity Government for keeping faith with the aspirations of founding fathers of the state by continuing the senatorial road projects.
Engineer Ambaiowei, who is a former Commissioner for Works in the state, advised the present administration to do what he calls “holistic planning for the state” and give equal attention to all the three senatorial roads.