From Kenechukwu Chukwuedozie
Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said the state is enjoying steady growth due to the continuity policy of his administration.
Governor Diri stated that continuing projects of previous administrations had not only saved funds of the state but had ensured that they reaped the full benefits of the policy.
The Bayelsa helmsman, who spoke during the inauguration of a new complex for the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme (BHIS) in Yenagoa on Wednesday, noted that the scheme was a brainchild of the immediate past administration of Senator Seriake Dickson.
Delta State Governor and Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, inaugurated the BHIS House as part of activities marking the third anniversary of the Diri administration.
Diri said his administration decided to continue with the health scheme due to its benefits to people of the state.
Diri, however, stated that his administration expanded it to accommodate the informal sector so as to reach out to more people.
He added that the BHIS House was constructed to give workers a befitting office space to implement the programme and to ensure that the health system of the state was on the right track.
His words: “This health scheme was initiated by my immediate past predecessor. We looked at it and saw the benefits for our people. We decided to continue and expand it. Today it has accommodated the informal sector.”
Also, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, commended the implementation of the health insurance scheme in Bayelsa, saying it is among the few states in the country where the scheme is functional.
Describing health insurance as important, Okowa said it caters to the health needs of the very poor and that the essence of governance is to touch the lives of the ordinary people.
He lauded the Diri administration for building a befitting office space for the scheme, saying it will enhance its implementation.
The PDP vice presidential candidate also hailed former Governor Seriake Dickson for initiating the BHIS and commended Diri for not deviating, saying continuity in governance is laudable, especially when the policy is about the people.
Okowa decried the non-release of funds by the APC-led federal government, which he said had stalled implementation of the scheme at the federal level.
He promised that when elected into office, the PDP will ensure that every aspect of the Health Act is made operational.
He said: “I am truly excited because it is about the people. When we take care of the health of the people, we are touching their lives. Obviously, through the Health Insurance Scheme of Bayelsa State, the lives of the people are impacted positively.
“I must thank the government of Bayelsa for the level they have attained in the health sector. Many states cannot boast of the number of functional healthcare centres in Bayelsa State.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Igwele, said the BHIS policy is in line with World Health Organization recommendations to provide for the health needs of the people.
He said after the inauguration of the BHIS by the immediate past administration, it has grown to the point where other states understudy the progress made by the state.
In a related development, the Bayelsa State Ultra Modern Transport Terminal at Igbogene was also inaugurated.
Diri described the project as more than a transport terminal as it comprises of two banking halls, medical center, retail stores and a VIP lounge.
The governor said his government had already procured vehicles to take commuters from the terminal to their destinations and called on transporters at different terminals in the state capital to relocate to the new terminal.
His words: “This transport terminal was conceived and started by my immediate past predecessor. When we came in, we continued the project and eventually completed it.”
In his remarks, the immediate past governor, Senator Seriake Dickson, thanked Governor Diri for his dedication and passion, which has ensured completion of projects inherited from his administration.
Senator Dickson said he was glad to witness the dividends of democracy being demonstrated by his successor and the honour done him to inaugurate one of the projects he initiated.
In a welcome address, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Moses Teibowei, said the project, which was constructed by the State Dredging and Construction Limited and supervised by his ministry, has two floors with each divided into three wings and connected to a central lobby.
Mr. Teibowei explained that each wing has a ticketing point, waiting area for travellers as well as departure gates, refreshment cafes, convenience rooms and secondary exit points.
He added that the terminal has two large car parks and two bus parks.
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