Thursday, 7 March 2019

I Will Continue with Ayade's Projects if they are Viable, says Eyo Ekpo

The gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Cross River State, Mr Eyo Ekpo, has said that if elected in the Saturday's governorship elections, he would continue with the projects of governor Ben Ayade, only if they are viable. He made this assertion while answering questions sent in during a live Facebook chat that held recently.

The SDP flag bearer stated that no sensible government would scrap viable projects that the state is involved in within the public private partnership arrangement, saying under normal circumstance, such projects are run by the private sector with the government setting templates to enhance their operations. He however x-rayed projects embarked upon by the current administration with a remark that they are avenues of siphoning public funds into private pockets.

He said: "all these projects have been dressed up as PPPs - Public Private Partnerships. If they are indeed public private partnerships that are viable, then it's not for me to scrap them. I can't and will not scrap them if they are viable because they will stand on their own. No sensible governor scraps viable PPPs the state is involved in... He can't because it will be the private sector that is making it function.

"What the public sector does is to bring the things that it is good at. In the case of Cross River State - acquiring land or helping the private entity with community relations, and maybe in one or two cases it is indeed deserving, approaching financiers, and vouching, for instance, the traffic study on a business case that is dependent on some activities, permits or licenses from the government.

"The reality is that in all these so-called PPPs, the state government has actually spent money on what are actually private enterprises. So the government is trying to do what regional governments did in the early 1960s which is catalyzed business. In the 21st century, there is nothing that is happening in Cross River that you need to catalyzed. There is at least one private entity that is willing to go into it. If that entity is not going into it directly, you need to ask why.

"But if what you have, like we have with some of these projects, spending public funds on consultancy. Anybody that has been in the public sector will tell you that one of the easiest ways to siphon money out of the public purse is to award a consultancy, because all you do is to cut and paste a particular document, submit it and take millions out of government's coffers.

"A typical port project in Nigeria requires 38 permits - different federal government authorizations, mostly between the ministries of transport, environment and of course, the CBN, that is, if there is any element of government funding in it. How many of these permits has the Cross River State Government gotten? None."