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Monday, January 27, 2020

Completion Agenda: The Journey With Udom Emmanuel part1

Urbanization is not simply about increasing the number of Urban residents or expanding the area of cities, but it's pertinent to note that it is about a complete drift from rural to urban style in terms of industrialization, creation of employment opportunities, transformation of the  living environment, increased investment, infrastructural development, increased capital accumulation interms of Internally Generated Revenue and most importantly, social security. These are the key factors that the strength of modern-day society depends on.

Ascertaining the grandness of these factors, Mr. Udom Emmanuel while giving his inaugural speech during his swearing-in ceremony as governor of Akwa Ibom State professed that by God's grace and with the support of the citizens, he will modify the position of the State as a civil service State to an industrial hub.

Changing the status of the State from a civil service- dependent State according to him does not imply doing away with the teeming percentage of civil service jobs, but to introduce a form of economic sustainability for the rainy days just like Lagos State.

Lagos State has been able to diversify its economy and to considerably reduce its dependence on Federal allocations. But its potentials are still huge if  invested in skilled labor force, reduced its bureaucratic hurdles and adopted inclusive development approach.

Lagos as a State has a rich history of economic growth and transformation. Although it covers only 0.4th of Nigeria's territorial land mass, making it the smallest state in the country, it accounts for over 60% of industrial and commercial activities in the nation. Lagos State is financially viable, generating over 75% of its revenues independent of Federal grants derived from oil revenues. It generates the highest internal revenue of all states in Nigeria.

The dream of Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the governor of Akwa Ibom State is to build a tributary environment where commercial and industrial activities would thrive for economic ontogenesis just as Lagos State in the future run.

To achieve this dream, Mr. Udom Emmanuel immediately after assumption office embarked on aggressive road construction to help open up the rural areas thereby linking them with the urban areas.  For instance, the Nto Edino – Ekwere Azu road with a twin bridge which links the state with Abia and other States will aide in the effective transportation of human, industrial and commercial goods to and fro the States, and this directly affects the economic development of the State. Some other roads constructed are the 20km Uyo- Etinan road which leads to the East-West road, Information Drive in Uyo, Ikot Ekpene- Uyo, Eket-Onna road, Mobil road in Ibeno, 6.0km Idiaba- Nda Nsit-Ikot Abasi road amongst others. 

These roads have automatically opened up these areas for industrial and commercial activities. This is the reason the emergence of industries in these areas is possible as witnessed in the State today.

The Government of Akwa Ibom State led by Mr. Udom Emmanuel has added another feather to its cap by bringing in innovations to the aviation sector. The story of Ibom Air is one landmark achievements that can never be ignored whenever emphasis on global revolution is made. This has been achieved in a time where there is great economic turbulence affecting the globe. Ibom Air has become the first State owned Airline in history.

Not only that the State has become the most accessible in Nigeria amongst other commercial cities, the dream of expanding the State's economy has become a reality. With over 50,000 passengers recorded in its first 100 days of operation, Ibom Air has contributed immensely to the economic expansion of the State. As we speak, two additional aircrafts last week were added to the already existing fleet. Currently, the airline operates three flights per day from Uyo to Abuja/ Lagos and also Abuja to Lagos and vice versa.  This is good as saying " double expansion for our economy".

Since electricity is one of the factors that affect economic development, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has launched a campaign, " power for all by 2021 initiative". It is believed that by 2021, every home across the State is connected to electricity.

When power supply is dependable and reliable, it will in turn aid effective commercial and industrial activities. To foster the actualization of this dream, the governor has embarked on building of electricity substations across the State.

The  2x60MVA, 132/33KV Power Sub-station at Ekim, Mkpat Enin is considered one of the most sophisticated in Nigeria, and is capable of supplying electricity to not fewer than 5 Local Government  Areas in the state.

The ambient environment and good road network put in place by Mr. Udom Emmanuel with steady power supply have paved a way in the State where  industries are thriving effectively.

One of the industries that are currently in operation is the Greenwell Fertilizer Blending Plant which has an annual production capacity of N400,000 metric tons of fertilzer. It has created a direct employment for about 150 people and an indirectly employment for about 89 people.

The plant is operated under PPP arrangement like most other industries attracted to the state. It runs with government equity share, and has an added advantage of not only blending fertilizer for trees and vegetables but also on soil types to suit the crops under cultivation.

The Greenwell Fertiliser plant with a distribution capacity of 6 truck-loads of Fertilizer per day, sources its raw materials both locally and internationally with Urea as one of the most important ingredients.

The plant has the capacity of blending assorted and multi-purpose fertilizer and is at the moment producing 3 highly demanded fertilizers including 20:10:10; 12:12 17 + 2mgo and 15:15:15.

Other industries are the Kings Flour Mill factory, Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company, Rice Mill, St. Gabriel Coconut Refinery, Refurbished Peacock Paint Factory, Lion Plywood and Timber Factory amongst others that will be discussed in the next edition of this piece.

The journey to becoming economic stabled and financially independable just like Lagos is a great and tough one. But with Gov. Udom Emmanuel, we believe Akwa Ibom State will someday get there.

Umani Uwemedimo writes from Uyo.

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