By Angela Nwaeze

The Ebonyi State Government has approved N500 million out of the N5.1 billion Paris Club Refund for the payment of full gratuities to retired civil servants in the State.

Head of Service, Chamberlin Nwele, announced this during a joint press briefing by selected Council members, held on Wednesday at the Executive Chambers Government House, Abakaliki.

He said that the payment of the gratuities would only be restricted to Civil Servants who retired from 2015 to 2019 under the present administration.

Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi, during the inauguration of the Chairman and members of the State Universal Education Board, made it crystal clear that he would not go into full payment of backlog of gratuities he inherited from previous administrations in the State, going by the economic realities.

However, the HOS explained that the State Government had earlier paid 40 per cent of all cumulative gratuities to all retirees in the State, stressing that the current sum would be focused on paying the full balance of the gratuities to only the stipulated categories.

On her part, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Blessing Ezeoke, disclosed that N975 million has been released as part of World Bank projects in the state for renovation and equipment of selected schools.

She noted that the Council has approved the selection of three secondary schools, one in each senatorial zone of the State, for upliftment as Special Model Schools, which would be under full scholarship for admitted students.

According to Ezeoke, the admission would only be open to exceptionally intelligent students who would score 90 and above in special entrance examinations required for admission into the schools.

She reiterated that the School, which would be fully residential for the students, would also incorporate holiday technological and vocational skills acquisition programmes as part of its curriculum.

 “The school would be totally free, free accommodation, uniform, tuition and the rest.

“The whole essence is to package a people that would be well equipped to take over the development of the State.

“There will be no discrimination as children of all classes would be admitted into the schools provided such a child meets the minimum criteria prescribed for admission.

“A Board will be set up to manage the Schools.”

The Schools selected, according to Ezeoke, are Government Secondary school, Afikpo for Ebonyi South; Ezza High School, Central; and Abakaliki High School (PRESCO) for the North.

Speaking on infrastructure, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Transport disclosed that the Governor has created a new Ministry designated as Ministry of Concessional Infrastructural Development, which would be charged with the development of exotic infrastructural facilities such as flyovers, road dualizations among others.

He also revealed that the Council has approved that a letter be sent to the State House of Assembly seeking approval of the House for a $70 million loan from the African Development Bank towards the construction of the about 198km old Abakaliki ring road.

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