Akwa Ibom now Nigeria’s preferred investment hub – Ukpeh

Akwa Ibom has been described as a choice destination for investors who are looking to take advantage of the ongoing industrialisation championed by Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration.

Gabriel Ukpeh, the chairman, Akwa Ibom State Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investments, stated this during the French Week 2021 Economic Summit, which was held in Lagos in Lagos. He also highlighted the growth and income-generating potentials of the state.

Speaking on the theme, Nigerian Foreign Exchange and the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, Ukpeh said, “Akwa Ibom has a lot of firsts and competitive advantages in the South-South region of the country. Participants have expressed concerns about bottlenecks at the port, bringing in goods, change of policies, exporting items, utilities such as power supply, these are things that Akwa Ibom is out to solve. With the Deep-Sea Port, you don’t have any issues bringing in your goods; at our Free Trade Zone import duties are not there. Akwa Ibom has an excellent road network, the best in the country. It makes sense to have someone who has a vision, in the person of Governor Udom Emmanuel, who has transformed the state into an investors’ haven.”

He added, “In terms of security, Akwa Ibom is the state with the lowest crime rate in the country. There is a heavy investment in security. As we speak, there is a company in Israel that is outfitting Uyo Capital Territory in what is called the Safe City. Quite a number of you know that Akwa Ibom has the largest reserves of oil and gas in the country, so anything in the area of refineries, petrochemical plants, ammonia plants, methanol plants, power generation plants are welcome. The bigger advantage we have is that we have the largest Free Trade Zone in the country.

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You don’t have to worry about foreign exchange because it provides a tax haven to allow investors to reap value from their investment. We also have a Deep-Sea Port for investors who want to move their goods to countries other than Nigeria. We have a shipbuilding base with a company from Singapore already investing in it. We are also investing in tourism, air transport and others.”
In the area of oil and gas, agriculture, tourism, and aviation, Ukpeh said that the Akwa Ibom State Government is investing heavily in these areas, “Akwa Ibom has the largest reserve of oil and gas in the country so that is an opportunity for investors to explore for oil and gas and other essential resources for power generation, refineries, etc. Akwa Ibom also boasts of a large expanse of arable land which is very rich for the cultivation of a variety of food and cash crops, the Smartest office complexes for official usage, a large expanse of beach for lovers of tourism, and so many other things numerous to mention”.

Also speaking at the event, minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said, “Regarding the theme of today’s message, Nigeria has moved up thirty-nine places in the 2021 World Ease of Doing Business from its position in 2015. In the same vein, it emerged as one of the only two African countries to be named among the top ten most improved economies in the world. It also moved up eleven places in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Ranking 2019.

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