The National Economic Council Implementation Committee has expressed satisfaction with the pace of economic development in Akwa Ibom State.
The Committee while on tour of some projects in the state on Monday, commended the state government for the various initiatives put in place to ensure that the state remains economically vibrant.
Recall that the National Economic Council (NEC), headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had recently directed its Implementation Committee to visit the six geo-political zones of the country, in a bid to ascertain various projects handled by state governments and their impacts on the economy.
In the South-South Region, the Committee which is led by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, on Monday, visited the St. Gabriel’s Coconut Oil Factory, ONNA, 21 Storey Building (Dakkada Towers), International Terminal Building, Maintenance Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) sections of the Victor Attah International Airport and the Green House in Uyo.
Speaking at the various project sites, Mr Akan Okon described Akwa Ibom as an economically viable state and expressed optimism that the exercise would enable the NEC delegation from Abuja to witness some of the economic strides recorded by the current administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
At the St. Gabriel’s Coconut Oil Factory, the Project Manager, Alper Yilmaz who received the team, said the factory is built with a capacity to break about 300,000 coconuts daily.
Aside producing 20 tons of coconut oil daily, Yilmaz noted that when completed, the factory would also boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and further create more employment in the state, as no fewer than 300 workers would be required for each shift.
Speaking at the Dakkada Towers, International Terminal Building and the MRO sections of the Victor Attah International Airport, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon. Okpolupm Etteh who received the team, indicated that the three projects were of great economic potentials and fully funded by the state government.
While revealing that the Dakkada Towers was at the finishing stage and would be ready for testing soon, Etteh stressed that the facility would enable oil companies like ExxonMobil to relocate its operational base to Akwa Ibom, a development he said would further better the fortunes of the state.
About the MRO, Mr Akan Okon expressed worries over plans by the Federal Government to site similar project in another state, when such was already at 75 percent completion level in Akwa Ibom.
“As a country, I have heard plans by the Federal Government to build another MRO somewhere but we have an MRO that is 75% completed.
Instead of going to start a new one, given lean resources we have, I believe it would pay us more as a country, if we ensure that the MRO in Akwa Ibom is fully completed”, he said.
At the Green House situated along Airport Road, Uyo, the Farm Manager, Mr Emmanuel Akpan, who received the NEC delegation, said the project was part of the current administration’s agricultural revolution.
Speaking while playing host to the team in his office at Government House Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo opined that the tour would enable NEC to carry out its responsibilities more effectively.
Mr Ekpo particularly urged the apex government to pay attention to federal roads in Akwa Ibom State, which according to him, were in deplorable state.
Secretary of the Committee, Mr Daniel Ikara who spoke with newsmen shortly after the tour, said he was impressed with the level of infrastructural and economic development in Akwa Ibom State.
“I’m honestly impressed with all the projects we’ve visited. For instance, the 21 Storey Intelligent Building that will accommodate all the IOCs. There is a resolution by the National Economic Council that all the IOCs should relocate to the state where they are exploring oil from and the IOCs gave conditions for relocation. But with the construction of the 21 Storey Building, I can say that Akwa Ibom State is meeting up with the conditions. So I’m impressed, generally”, he said.
Present during the tour were members of the NEC Implementation, including Mrs Amadi Vivian, Arc. Augustine Bassey, Mr Yawali Musa and representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, led by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Effiong Ekpenyong.
Credit: Uwakmfon Dan