Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aniekan Umanah says the industrialization programme of Governor Godswill Akpabio is well on course.
Fielding questions from reporters on industrialization of the State promised by Governor Akpabio,Mr Umanah said the Akpabio administration remains committed to the promise of facilitating the establishment of industries in all the 31 local government areas of the State through a viable public-private arrangement.According to the Commissioner, “Governor Akpabio promised partnership with the private sector to establish at least one cottage industry in the 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom,” adding that, “this is because governments all over the world do not succeed in solely establishing and managing industries, no one should expect the administration of Chief Akpabio to do so. Government is currently playing the role of a partner and an enabler in the drive towards the industrialization programme.
He stated that the present administration started by providing a solid foundation for industrialization by making tremendous investments in the development of physical and social infrastructure, covering roads, bridges, drainage systems, airport, power, housing, education and health, among many others. These investments, he emphasized are preconditions for successful take-off of industrialization.
To facilitate the rapid industrialization of Akwa Ibom after setting up a strong infrastructural base, Mr. Umanah said the State government established an and Corporation and went on to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of Industry to enhance the capacity of small and medium scale industries. Under this scheme, the state government will make available, the sum of N2.5billion, the BOI will provide additional N2.5billion to make a total of N5billion available to interested investors of Akwa Ibom origin. This, according to Mr. Umanah, “will not only develop and improve production capacity, it will also go a long way to generate employment and alleviate poverty among the people.”
Mr. Umanah stated that the new Investment Corporation had long commenced work on the industrailsation programme and has so far concluded the appraisal and evaluation of investment proposals covering 25 industrial projects to be located in different parts of the State. These projects, he stated, “are awaiting loan financing for the procurement of equipment and provision of working capital for early take-off.”
Apart from producing an Industrial Roadmap to ensure the orderly implementation of government industrialization programmes, the Information Commissioner said the State Corporation was quietly facilitating the establishment of new industries and reactivating others that stopped operations many years ago.
Mr. Umanah listed Greenwell Technologies , a US-based company registered in Nigeria, as being in a joint venture with the state government under the public-private-partnership arrangement, to manufacture Water Purification Chemicals, fertilizer, Animal Feeds and undertake Poultry Processing. The first phase of the project, he said, “is being financed by Ecobank.” Others include Pioneer Agro Industries,is a firm involved in the processing of cassava tubers into high-grade industrial starch for local and export markets, to which the state government has leased 500 hectares of land in four locations to ensure the commencement of the factory.
Another effort of the State government towards effective and sustainable industrialization of Akwa Ibom, according to the Information Commissioner includes, the approval of four hectares of land in Ikot Abasi to Ontario Energy. The company, he explained, would establish a 250mw Power Plant. Coupled with the State government’s investment in 4-Power Consortium Limited, he stressed that Akwa Ibom would become very sufficient in power for both domestic and commercial us, thereby boosting the industrialization drive of the administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio.
Hinting that Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited has indicated interest to acquire Qua Steel and establish a welding and fabrication yard for skills training required in the oil and gas industry, Mr. Umanah said AKICORP has identified a credible investor that is willing to purchase
Peacock Paints factory AS IS. The implication of this, in his explanation means, “the investor will inject sufficient funds into the company to pay off existing liabilities, upgrade existing equipment and fund working capital.”
The Commissioner further explained that the Ibom Industrial City project ,incorporating a Deep sea Port, Refinery ,Fertilizer plant and other production concerns was an “an ambitious project of the Akpabio administration which falls in line with his industrialization plan for the State.” The project, expected to commence in the first quarter of 2014, according to the Commissioner, would be completed and opened for port operations at the end of 2015, thereby promoting commerce and generating employment for the people.
The Seaport, he said, “presents investment opportunities for both local and foreign investors
To underscore the fact that the present administration is leaving no stone unturned in its resolve to industrialize the State’s economy and attract foreign direct investment, the Information boss, equally said that “investors from Turkey have expressed interest to establish a multi-products company for the manufacture of Refrigerators, TV sets, Deep Freezers and other household appliances.”
Mr. Umanah submitted that establishing industries “is a process that takes some gestation period and is quite different from executing contracts or other quick fix business ventures” ,and commended the State Investment Corporation for doing a good job of driving the industrialization process and called on Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs to take advantage of the robust industrailisation programme of The Akpabio administration in the spirit of public-private-partnership to engender a sustainable private sector driven and an industrial economy in Akwa Ibom.”