The administration of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has approved the procurement of 100-unit of mass transit vehicles for convenient and affordable transportation in the state, especially for medium and low income earners.
The state government also approved an improved welfare package for health workers in the state, which will ensure a significant rise in the earnings of nurses, midwives, laboratory scientists, radiographers and a host of others under the Allied Union of Health Workers
Briefing newsmen after the state’s Executive Council meeting, the commissioner for commerce and industry, Barrister Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo disclosed that the decision to procure the 100-unit vehicles was in keeping with the vision of the government to impact positively on the lives of the people as well as promote business activities in the state.
Barr. Ogbu-Nwobodo further explained that the procurement of the vehicles will be funded through the Move Nigeria Programme of Infrastructure Bank of Nigeria PLC, created by the federal government to fund major infrastructure at concessionary rates.
He added that the Infrastructure Bank would fund the mass transit vehicles’ purchase at five percent rate in addition to the normal bank costs, stressing: “Five percent is by any standard a concessionary rate, almost like a giveaway”.
The commissioner also told journalists that the state government equally approved a contract for the renovation and expansion of New Haven Shopping complex, Enugu to enhance ease of doing business, explaining that contracts awarded also included the expansion and renovation of its parking area, construction of ultra-modern public toilet in the market to avoid outbreak of diseases that may result from non-availability of convenience rooms in the market.
According to him, the upgrade of the facility would be contractor-financed, with the proceeds from its sale used to defray the cost of renovation, adding that “the parking lot as well as the toilet will be managed by the traders in conjunction with the ministry of commerce and industry”.
“Considering the strategic location of this market in the heart of Enugu, and also being one of the shopping complexes owned by the state government, and in keeping with the urban renewal efforts of the state government, council approved that this renovation be done to give it a major facelift”, Barr. Ogbu-Nwobodo said.
On the welfare package for Health workers, the state’s commissioner for health, Dr. Fintan Ekochin, said “the Executive Council approved that the implementation of the Consolidated Health Workers Salary Scale (CONHESS) should be applied to members of the association”.
“This is something that is very welcome because it entails an increase in take-home for members of these various workers in the state,” he said, adding that the government is determined to implement it duly and carry along all the representatives of the various associations of health workers.
Noting that health workers had long been agitating for implementation of the CONHESS salary scale, given that doctors in Enugu State were already on the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS), Dr. Ekochin explained that the approval comes as good news for health workers and expressed optimism that it will result in more enthusiasm and productivity in their workplace.
The health commissioner explained further that the present gesture is coming on the heels of the government’s renewed endeavour to protect health workers, culminating in the distribution of personal protective equipment last week, and a training organised by the health ministry for health workers on the Lassa fever infection, prevention and control.
He said he was pleased with the measures his ministry has put on ground to prevent the outbreak and respond appropriately in the event of an outbreak. “We thank God that there is not even one suspected case of Lassa fever in Enugu State, despite reported cases in several states including a neighbouring state”.
Outlining other decisions taken at the meeting, the commissioner for information, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe disclosed that the Council equally approved the disposal of 22 unserviceable vehicles, but added that political appointees were excluded from bidding for their purchase.