Delta Line Sale: Emu Denies Involvement In Buy-Off ***As Ex-Gov. Uduaghan Bags Blame For Moribund Transport Oufits

Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA: 

Kingsley Emu

Kingsley Emu

Delta state Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Kingsley Emu has denied his alleged involvement in the buy-off of the state owned Delta Transport Services Limited, operators of Delta Line, which stands at 60/40 percent equity shares between the private investor and Delta state government respectively.

Recall that Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa had ordered the Ministry of Finance, headed by Mr. David Edevbie to advertise for bidders for Delta Line, an action which angered the leadership of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) who claimed that the union had been sidelined in the decision making process.

Although Mr. Emu denied his interest to buy-off the state owned transport company, he revealed that the company is near moribund because of poor management, adding that the move by the state government to sell Delta Line to a private investor was proper, inspire of fear for job losses.

Hear him: “That is not my area of specialization in any way, except in terms of consulting and hotel.

“I have no link whatsoever with Delta Line and I will never have any link with transportation business. That is the worst business anybody can get into, dealing with drivers. I will never do that. I don’t want to put trackers on vehicles and trackers on human beings. I also do not have funds to waste because if I have to borrow to do that, I have to borrow to do what I can have an oversight on.

“But let me also talk about it as Commissioner for Economic Planning. I was fascinated about the concession plan because over time, you would find out that even those who uses Delta Line have stopped using them for courier services because of delay in delivery, unlike others. If you also look at the structure, it stinks.

Some of his arguments however runs contrary to earlier claims made by the state Secretary of AUPCTRE, Comrade Emeni Fidel who insisted that Delta Line company presently pay a monthly wage bill of N26 million with an average Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N42 million, adding that the new management makes gradual loan repayment to Zenith and Wetland banks.

According to Emu, “We don’t need to waste money to pamper government businesses. Government has no business doing any business. That is a statement of fact. Where all of these businesses work, we know. We have continually subsidized that company (Delta Line). That company owes in excess of N200 million in terms of debt. That company is not professionally run. Before the advent of the Caretaker Committee today, that company was unable to pay their bills, salaries and debt, and as I speak to you they are still unable to pay those debts.

“Its not true that they are paying Zenith Bank. Its not true. In any case, they are going through a due procurement process of publicising it to enable people bid. I will urge you as journalists to be patient and see the process through.

“The fear is job loss. There may not even be any job loss. For all you care there will be enhancement of value because most of the drivers have not been trained for a long time. If you look at transportation businesses, operational efficiency is the most challenging part of it. You must have a functional workshop with spare parts and drivers must go through preferential training regularly to understand what they are doing.”

In a corroborative statement, the state Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Vincent Uduaghan had earlier taken a swipe at the last administration of his elder brother, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on the state of Delta Line when he alleged that the past government purchased substandard buses which have no road worthiness, stressing that many of the vehicles have gone beyond repairs.

He also disclosed that the Delta Line sister company, Delta Waterways also owned by the state government has becme moribund and there are moves to invite private investors to bring the water transport company back to life, since government business is nobody’s bussince.

“To start with, that is how we met it. If you have the history of the state at hand, you will see that the people that started the Ministry then experienced buoyancy in finances and they invested in boats and with time you know government business is nobody’s business and they were run aground or run awater.

“The boats are today not operating. They are just there and they are very few. So we are trying to look at the possibility of an investor, outside what we have as boats, we equally have the dylocking section where the boats can be fixed. We are talking to investors that are coming to see what they can possibly bring in to bring that place back to life.”

Meanwhile, the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and its affiliate unions had in a bid to halt the sales of the state government owned transport companies, held series of meetings with the Special Adviser to Governor Okowa on Labour Relations, Mr. Mike Okeme and representatives of the state government.

On Thursday, December 15, 2016, the Union’s leadership addressed the workers at the Delta Line workshop on the Asaba-Onitsha express way, threathenig a peaceful protest to halt the sale of up to 60 percent of the equity of Delta Line to the governor’s surrogates.

While addressing the aggrieved workers, the state chairman of AUPCTRE, Comrade Jerry Okousun, accompanied by members of the state and branch executives, said the Union is taken aback by government for the partial privatization, explaining that the concessioning of Delta Line to a private owner at 60 percent is an indirect plan for jobs lay-off which strongly indicates that the buyer with an upper hand would dictate the fate of the nearly 750 workers.

It is however touted that the last administration perpetrated huge fraud through the Ministry of Transport headed by Hon. Benjamin Igbakpa where over N50 billion was expended for no just cause.
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E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka

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