Delta Government Gives Approval For Passengers Welfare Scheme

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Delta State government has approved the reconstitution of the state Passengers Welfare Scheme aimed at giving insurance coverage to passengers travelling within and outside the state (inter/intra state travelling) just as the government also assured that passengers who are travelling outside the state would have insurance covering them which commence with immediate effect.

Also, the state government has approved the communique reached at the just concluded Education Summit held in the state as a working document to enable government commence immediate action on the resolutions arrived at during the Summit and a counterpart funding of N500 million was also approved to access the World Bank New Map Project on ecology.

These were disclosed Tuesday at a joint press briefing by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, accompanied by his counterparts in the Ministries of Transport, Mr. Vincent Uduaghan and Mr. John Nani, Environment.

The Commissioner for Transport said passengers travelling within the state would pay the sum of N50 while those travelling outside the state would pay a N100 each, “you will recall that this scheme is not new, efforts have been made in time past to make it float but because of some technical issues. This law was passed in 2002, all these while there has been one issue or the other but we have been able to put it behind us and the government has deemed it fit at this time to allow the scheme fly”.

He lamented a situation in the past where accident occurs and the victims could not be accounted for due poor management and lack of manifest to consult, “with the passengers’ welfare scheme, we intend taking the manifest of each vehicle that leaves a particular station as a transporter. As a government we need the database and the situation where we scant for those involved in an accident in the case there is any is past”.

However, the Commissioner for Information who laid emphasis on the matter said, “The welfare scheme is like an insurance cover. In most cases when you have accident and injuries some of these transporters takes such money but they do not come to the aid of those passengers and the law was enacted by this state in 2002”, revealing that, “the seriousness of this was tested by one of the transporters and a ruling was given in favour of the state establishing it. These transporters and stakeholders have now seen the need for the government to moderate this and the idea is when you travel on our roads, it gives us an opportunity for us to have a database of the numbers of people plying our roads”.

He said the scheme would also help to address the issues of accidents, minor injuries and even permanent disabilities, saying government would ensure that the right payment was made at the right time, “now it is under control but you know that for a start, there will be some resistance but when they begin to see the benefits in it, with time we will grow into a maximal performance in it”.

On the N500 million counterpart fund approved by the state government, the Environment Commissioner said the state would only pay a percentage of the loan, “is like giving you the money as a grant and the state will not pay a kobo till 10 years’ time and that loan again would be spread for 30 years” stressing that the state would need to pay 12.5 per cent of the total amount to solve ecological challenges.

Mr. Nani explained that the Accountant-General of the federation would sign on behalf of the state as the state is been seen as a sub-region of the country in International law while the World Bank would in turn pay 87. 5 per cent of the money for specific projects to allay the ecological degradation in the state.

The state government has assured that the approvals reached at the State Executive Council would be followed conclusively in order for government to give better infrastructures to the citizenry.