Indigenes of Akwa Ibom State, in recent times, have experienced development in the state, significantly in the power sector as there has been an average of 18 hours electricity supply coming from the recently commissioned electricity power sub-station in the state Capital.
This and other developmental projects executed by the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, are geared towards providing enabling environment for the industrialization drive of the state.
He said with good roads, security of life and property and stability of the state, the state has witnessed significant progress in the industrial drive of the government.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Charles Udoh, while speaking on AIT breakfast programme, KAKAAKI, unveiled some of the achievements of Mr Udom Emmanuel in his two years in office as Governor of the state, saying that agriculture and tourism are part of the main industrialization plans of the state.
He said that Governor Emmanuel’s focus on road construction is aimed at connecting production communities to the economic nerves, as well as agricultural centres to the commercial centres of the state, maintaining that, “With this, people who have farms in the State can transport their farm produce easily and faster.”
The Commissioner explained that, “one of the major challenges we are having is price of food stuffs. If you remove agriculture, price control will not work; we are simply applying the law of demand and supply. That’s why the Government is investing in agriculture, providing free fertilizers and seedlings to farmers and also ensuring that the farmers are well trained.”
Mr Udoh said that, “the state Government has trained over 400 indigenes on Cocoa production. We want to go back to that point in Nigeria when Akwa Ibom State played a major role in agriculture.”
Commenting further on the industrialization drive, the Information boss said; “Statistics shows that Nigeria consumes about 16 billion syringes per annum, and where do we get this syringe from? We get them from South Africa. We don’t have syringe factories in Nigeria but we are building in Akwa Ibom, and it will produce 400 million syringes per annum, creating job opportunities and boosting the economy of the state.
“If you also look at the coconut plantation and refinery, coconut is an investment of Gold, and we are tapping into that opportunity. We have a 2-million coconut plantation. To complement that, we have coconut refinery. The idea is to have the coconut refinery ready to roll once the coconut plants are matured.”
“Also in industrialization, we have the flour mill which His Excellency recently flagged off. We also have the Electric Metering Factory which is to complement the Government’s effort in power distributions.
“It could be recalled that earlier in the year, we were informed that Nigeria is nursing plans to commence the production of pencils in 2018, while Akwa Ibom State in 2017, is producing pencils and toothpicks.
He said that, “There are states in the federation that depend on us for these pencils. Those industries are not gigantic structure but what comes out from them,” he further stated.
On the free and compulsory education programme of the government, Mr Udoh said that the state government pays over N600 million WAEC fees for students annually.
“The State Government has taken over community schools because our dream is to ensure that most communities benefit from the school. We have children coming from neighbouring states to benefit in this free and compulsory education in Akwa Ibom State.”
The free education, despite the economic situation in the country is opened to both indigenes and non indigenes alike; “we can’t have a progressive environment if we train our children and don’t train our neighbours’ children, that’s why we allow that.”
“We want to have an economy driven by educated youths not just in the narrow scheme of things. That is why we have youth empowerment, youth development and series of intervention programmes to ensure that youths, who are expected to be leaders of tomorrow, are well prepared.”
Beyond payment of WAEC fees and basic education, the Commissioner for Information said that the Government intervenes in infrastructure, adding that in the last 24 months, “We have had 300 inter-ministerial projects predominantly centered at providing classrooms and basic infrastructures for schools.”
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