Yenagoa—Trigen-Craton limited, concessionaire of the Bayelsa Diagnostic Centre has debunked an earlier report that equipment have allegedly been stolen from the facility.
The concessionaire which described the report as politically motivated hinted that the Seriake Dickson-led government built and fully paid for all the diagnostics and imaging equipment in the facility, assuring that they are all intact.
Recall that some stakeholders in a Mangrovepen.ng report had raised concerns about its closure.
But the Operations Manager of Trigen-Craton Limited, Malcom Okiebai, revealed that the huge cost of running the facility without subvention from the state government took a toll on its operations.
The statement reads in part:
“We ran the center from August 2016 to May 5th, 2020 at our own cost, as the revenues could not sustain the running cost of the facility, especially the high cost of maintaining power non-stop, as the sensitive equipment requires 24-hour constant electricity.
“Providing constant power, training of skilled personnel and maintaining the facility since 2016 had taken a huge toll on our personal finances and we made a request to the former governor for support, in the form of the running cost, until the center became profitable, a development not anticipated in the original concession agreement.
“The original concession agreement assumed that the center would be profitable at the start of operation; however we did not take into consideration that, like every other business, the centre needed time to stabilize and become profitable.
“Realizing this, we made a case to the former governor who encouraged us to continue, and that the expenses we would incur would be reimbursed. The former governor directed a team led by the former SSG and Attorney General of the state to review the concession agreement and accommodate the unforeseen development.
“The former governor had insisted that provision of health services is primarily a social service before it is a business and therefore directed that the agreement be reworked to accommodate the new development and that government will reimburse the running cost and expenses.
“The team was also directed to verify our claims of expenses and recommend the amount due to us as outstanding. Based on the above assurances and the steps initiated by the state government, we continued to run the place, even with the new government.”
The statement averred that when Senator Douye Diri emerged as Governor, he encouraged the company to continue running the center while the verification of their claims continued.
According to Okiebai, they kept running the facility at full capacity till the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and up to May 2020.
“However, about the 5th of May, with Covid-19 pandemic going out of control and government and companies grappling with the Covid-economy, we had cause to downscale our operations in order to prevent mass infection and the resultant reputational damage.
“By the 5th of May, it was clear the Center could no longer remain open because it had become the first port of call for Bayelsans as it concerned diagnosis and the Concessionaire, not having a full grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, as no one all over the world had as that time; had no other option but to close its doors in order to avoid mass casualty.”
The concessionaire stated that Diri had set up a steering committee with a mandate to reopen the facility whilst audits are being carried out under the chairmanship of Hon. Peter Akpe, Acting Chief of Staff to Bayelsa State Governor with the Commissioner for Health.
“When the steering committee appeared to be unduly delaying the process, His Excellency, Gov. Douye Diri changed the leadership of the steering committee for the reopening of the center and appointed His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as chairman.
“He has since held several meetings with the steering committee, comprising of the Concessionaire and the Bayelsa State Government Representatives where a proposal has been agreed upon by all parties and the said proposal is currently awaiting the governor’s approval.
“We as concessionaires demanded that in order for the Center to be reopened, it was important that a full Joint Stocktaking be carried out by the committee which included representatives of the Bayelsa State Government and the Concessionaire in order to ascertain the status of the equipment at the center which has since been done.
“Understanding quality service delivery, we maintained high-security levels even after the closure of the center till date, with security guards supported by the Nigerian police who have continued to secure the facility and its equipment till date,” the statement added.