Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has debunked insinuations in some quarters that over 500 staff of Delta Line Transport Company have been relieved of their jobs and thrown into the over saturated labour market in Delta state.
The governor said the staff, rather than being sacked, opted to disengage from the company and get the allowances associated with it, stressing that the agreement was that the new operators of the company would re-engage staff that it required.
He stated that staff who wished to remain after the disengagement would be subjected to fresh interview for possible engagement.
Governor Okowa noted that as a commercial outfit, Delta Line should not be run like the civil service, arguing that it was not economically expedient for about 400 drivers to be managing about 80 vehicles.
The best thing for Delta Line, according to the governor, was for a private outfit to run the company in line with best business practices, adding that under the new management, about 120 of the staff would re-engaged.
“We want Delta Line to operate in a way that we will all be proud of. In the months to come, brand new vehicles will be on the road for Delta Line,” the governor stated.
“We have already paid four months arrears before the take over and four more months will be paid and they are also to be paid a disengagement allowance which is being worked on now and they opted to move out probably because of the allowance which they are entitled to receive and thereafter any one of them who wishes to continue with the company will be subjected to interviews.
“So, nobody was sacked because I know that some of them are going to be re-engaged and those who will be useful will be put to work and no form of nepotism will be allowed, the governor said, asserting, nobody was sacked, rather they were relieved on their own accord, and over 120 workers will be re-engaged by the new management,” Okowa emphasised.
He continued: “I am sure that Delta Line is going to come up well because, with the plans that are on ground, we want the company to run in such a manner that as a government, and as a people, we can be proud of it and we can be sure that that when passengers are in these vehicles they can be rest assured of their safety and security; so, in the next few months, we are going to see brand new Delta Line buses, efficiency and quality of service will be the new order for the company.”
The governor urged critics of the intention to commercialize Delta Line to get their facts right, stating that the transport company is a commercial venture and it is supposed to make money for itself and possibly also for the state government through some dividend payment, but, unfortunately over time, government has continued to pour out money into the company.
“I have witnessed the capitalization of Delta Line three times in the past, and after some time we came back with millions and millions of debt and we could not continue in that manner and we could not allow the mistakes of the past to repeat itself, so, we thought that the best thing was to bring in a private partner who can run the company efficiently because one; is the provision of the services that you expect that company to provide and two; is sustainability of that venture to ensure that it does not go bankrupt,” Governor Okowa was quoted as saying.
He gave assurance that the interest of Deltans and the state were always uppermost in taking decision by his administration and the people will get good benefits from the partnership between God Is Good Motors and Delta State government.