By Amos Igbebe
The hope of expatriates from the Republic of West Germany to build a medical city in partnership with Juliocci Nig. Ltd in Delta as obtainable in advanced countries may have been dashed as Delta State Government says it can’t pay 25 percent counterpart fund to drive the project in the oil rich state.
The expatriates and the partnering local company made the presentation in the office of Secretary to the State Government, Ovie Festus Agas, on Wednesday in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Chuks Ajunwa, Executive Director of Juliocci Nig. Ltd, who made the presentations, gave vivid descriptions and the compartments of the medical city, saying the project would encompass various departments as obtainable in any modern hospital anywhere in the world, especially Germany, where the expatriates come from.
He said the proposed medical city would cover over 150 hectares of land and would cost a projected cost of N1bn Euros.
But Agas, speaking on behalf of the state government, said considering the financial implication of the project and the descriptions, it was too large for the state to afford its share, hence it can’t pay 25 percent requirement to kick off the project in a designated town in the state.
Agas said the financial state of Delta would not permit the state to go into any partnership that is financially involving with the expatriates to build the medical city, as the major preoccupation of government was to create avenues for private investors who were desirous of investing in the state.
Agas said “I want to say that as laudable as these projects might seem, they look rather big and frightening. A medical city that could cost N1bn Euros is plenty of money. These figures are frightening, I need to be realistic. One of the problems of Nigeria and Delta State today is dwindling oil revenue. Therefore the Nigerian nation and Delta State have the huge challenge of financing projects”.
He said rather than go into massive project execution, “when Okowa’s government was inaugurated, the governor openly stated that the government would concentrate on governance while the state will provide an enabling environment for private sector to thrive or prosper. By that we are saying we are opened to well meaning investors like you”.
The SSG told the expatriates that rather than provide 25 percent financial counterpart funding which the state might not be willing to go into, it would provide land for the project and security for the construction workers, saying this would replace the state 25 percent equity funding for the project.
He said “what I’m saying is that we will provide land which should be our equity contribution, we will also collaborate with the federal government to ensure adequate security for you as partners. But we have constraints in the provision of the 25 percent funding. We wish to partner with you but we have our challenges. As a state, we wish to be sincere to all who are interested in our state.”
He also told the expatriates that rather than rushing to funding another medical city, the state government would be more interested in upgrading the Delta State University Teaching Hospital in Oghara, the country home of the former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori.