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Okowa denies sacking of 568 Delta transport coy staff

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Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, on Wednesday, debunked claims that he ordered the sack of 568 workers of the state transport corporation, Delta Line, saying that the workers opted to exit following a mouth-watering disengagement allowance.

The state government recently divested 60 percent of its shares in the company to God is Good Motors, retaining 40 percent in a Private Public Partnership (PPP) in a bid to make it more effective and commercially viable.

However, some staff of the company raised alarm that the governor directed that they should be sacked without benefits to enable the new management recruit new staff and commence operations on a new slate.

But the governor told journalists in Asaba at a press briefing he never ordered the sack of the workers, adding that they were given the option to exit with the payment of disengagement benefit to follow, while such affected staff also have the opportunity of re-applying.

He said, “They were not sacked, but were relieved on their own accord with the benefit being paid disengagement allowance to each and every one of them. The disengage allowance is being worked on as we speak, and probably because of that, the opted for exit.

“And thereafter, any of them who wishes to continue with the company should subject himself to interview. I know that some of them (120) will be re-engagement particularly those who will be useful, not that practice of getting employment and you will be sitting at home.”

Okowa explained that the partnership was to have the transport company “run in a manner that we all can be proud of.

“In the next few months we are going to see brand new buses not with government money but because we have shares and they have also shares, we are going to the bank to take loan to buy the buses, and the loan will be tied to the money that will be made.

“So, it will run purely as a commercial venture and you will be satisfied that this is a transport line that is dependable and qualitative.”

Speaking earlier, the governor promised that the provision for education in the 2019 budget will be increased to the detriment of other sectors, to meet the shortfalls in education sector in terms of provision of infrastructure in the state owned schools.

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