BusinessDay

Ibom airport aircraft maintenance facility 85 percent ready, says Udom

The Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility for aircraft at the Ibom airport which is part of the total aviation development scheme of the Akwa Ibom government is 85 completed and would be inaugurated by October this year, Governor Udom Emmanuel has disclosed.

Udom who described the international terminal at the airport as “the most intelligent in the nation,” said it would be commissioned before May 29 next year when he is expected to leave office adding that airport has the capacity to process over one million passengers a year, and is fitted with the most current technology available,

“The Akwa Ibom Airport is poised to make our State an aviation hub in the Gulf of Guinea,’’ he said.

In a broadcast to mark the 7th anniversary of his administration, the governor said the facilities at the airport when completed would “provided hundreds of jobs to our teeming youths and would add hundreds more, thus fulfilling one of the central campaign promises of Job creation. Our taxiway, the longest in the nation’s aviation space, will soon be commissioned.”

“There is no doubt that in seven years, the story of our growth in the aviation sector is being written in golden lines and more chapters will be added. We should feel proud of this huge achievement,’’ he said.

According to the governor, the third leg of state government’s industrialisation agenda was focused on Maritime Development adding that the Ibom Deep Seaport, which was awaiting approval by the Federal Executive Council, has finally been approved saying it has put the state on the path for the realisation of a great and impactful project.

“You will recall that upon being sworn in, one of the Technical Committees I had instituted was that of the realisation of the Ibom Deep Seaport. We thank God, that we have finally gotten this process started and it is my hope the next administration will take this project further and ensure that with a shoreline of over 29 nautical miles, the Ibom Deep Seaport will move the economy of our State higher, create employment and wealth for our people and change the dynamics of growth and development of our people, ’’he said.

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We promised to rapidly industrialize our State and change the narrative of her profile as a purely civil-service oriented State. Today, with two recessions and a pandemic, and in spite of the national security challenges, and our controlling monetary and fiscal policies, we have maintained peace in our State, which in turn has brought us Foreign Direct Investments which has helped inch us up according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as the second destination for foreign investors.

“The result of this, has been the establishment of such commercially viable industries and employment –generating industries such as the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing company, the Kings Flour Mill, the Metering Solutions Company, our first of its kind in Nigeria nay Africa, the St. Gabriel Coconut Refinery which was commissioned a little over two weeks ago, the Lion Plywood Company, Rice Mill in Ini, the Fertiliser and Ammonia Plant, the Plastic Making Factory, the first of its kind Tissue Making Factory made from bamboo fibre, among others.

“These factories have helped in translating our key vision which was to create wealth and job opportunities for our people. Today, through the value chain and direct employment opportunities, thousands of our people have been gainfully engaged.

“Seven years ago, when we promised rapid industrialisation of our state, many did not believe us. Today, it has been a promise made and a promise kept. We will soon publish these industries and let the world see what we have used the resources of the State to do in lifting the economic profile of the State and water the seeds for future prosperity. Akwa Ibom is rising and there is no turning back. It is forward ever, backward never,’’ he said.

In the area of agriculture and food security, he said the state government has tackled it holistically saying that an enabling environment has been provided for staple foods to be readily available and at an affordable price range.

“The rice mill in Ini has ensured the availability of rice at affordable price; several garri processing mills have also ensured that our people have this critical staple food readily available at an affordable price too. We are producing vegetables such as tomatoes and others which were hitherto thought impassible in these parts. This we have done with the realisation that a government that is unable to feed her population can never appropriate the full potential of the people.

“We are providing soft loans to our farmers through the Ibom FADAMA Micro-Finance Bank aimed at strengthening the spirit of agricultural enterprises and the extension of advisory services. The essence here is to leverage on our comparative advantage and export our agricultural produce.”

“The recently commissioned coconut oil factory with a capacity to refine and process one million nuts per day is a testimony to our determination to strategically diversify our economy through agriculture. Today, jobs are being provided for hundreds of our people through the coconut plantations in Eastern Obolo, Mkpat Enin, and Okobo to feed our coconut Refinery in Mkpat Enin.”

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