Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has assured the people of the state that with what his administration has put on ground in the state’s oil palm producing industry, ADAPALM, Ohaji, the company will soon have the capacity to employ 35,000 persons if fully revived.
This came as the organised labour in the state has appealed to Governor Uzodimma to initiate modalities of gradually paying the workers of Adapalm who are still owed over 50 months arrears of salaries.
The governor, who was at the company to have on-the-spot assessment of the state of affairs in the industry, expressed joy that production had commenced once again at ADAPALM and that 120 tons of Grade A oil per day is being produced, adding that his administration was committed to bringing back the company as one of the state’s hopes of economic survival after the global economic downturn due to the Coronavirus scourge.
He said: “We are committed to bringing ADAPALM back to stream. It’s one of our greatest hopes of surviving the post Covid-19 period immediately after the Coronavirus pandemic era. Of course you know that the economy is almost becoming epileptic. We have to look inwards to see how best we can restructure our economy, boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) strength and then ensure that our citizenry are also busy.”
Uzodimma assured that placing ADAPALM in its rightful place would lift the Internally Generated Revenue of Imo State, noting that the company on its own is a value chain that could produce not only palm oil, but also other oil-related products like margarine, sheer butter and palm kennel oil.
He added that the state stands to benefit from the about N3 billion turnover once the company was fully revived.
He stated that the government was keen on expanding the company due to the potential 35,000 jobs that could be created to add to the economy of the state.
Uzodimma however noted the deplorable state of the access road to the ADAPALM Plantation and other oil installations in the area and appealed for patience with the government to fix the road as soon as possible since past administrations demonstrated deliberate negligence to it.
The governor also used the opportunity to appeal to irate youths of the zone to eschew restiveness and vandalism of government property and other oil installations as his administration will not tolerate rascality and recalcitrance from any quarter.
He frowned at the illegal activities perpetrated on Adapalm and Imo State soil, especially the felling of 6,000 palm trees linked to Seplat Petroleum Development Company, and warned that government will not take it lightly with any person or group that tampers with the economic trees of the state.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Imo State council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Austin Chilakpu has called the attention of Governor Hope Uzodimma to the over 50 months arrears of salaries owed workers of Ada Palm.
While recalling that the workers were redeployed to the ministry of agriculture when the administration of Rochas Okorocha concessioned the company, Chilakpu pointed out that the ministry could not absorb the workers.
He noted that every effort made to resolve the issue with the previous administrations proved abortive.
“These workers and their families have been made to suffer untold hardship as a result of the non-payment of their salaries which has accrued to over fifty months. The most unfortunate ones have died as a result of the trauma they faced”, he lamented.
The NLC chairman therefore appealed to the governor to direct the immediate redeployment of the workers back to Adapalm and the commencement of payment of salaries to the affected workers.
He stated that the measures amongst others would help bring back the company to its former glory as the workers were ever prepared to work out the funds for the of their salaries as well as clearing the backlog of arrears owed them under an atmosphere of peace and industrial harmony.
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Data as of 2020-05-10 06:56:00 UTC