Akwa Ibom seeks partnership for investment in waste management
Akwa Ibom government has solicited partnerships with investors in the area of waste management and recycling to create employment opportunities and generate more revenue for the state.
Prince Ikim, chairman of the state environmental protection and waste management agency made the call while defending the agency’s 2021 budgetary estimate before the state assembly.
According to him, “We are open to Akwa investors who are ready to venture into the recycling business.
“The agency is making arrangements to partner with companies and persons on waste recycling business so that it can generate revenue for the state government as well as create employment in the state.
“Right now we are employing over 6,000 persons on our payroll and we are ready to employ close to 20,000 Akwa Ibom indigenes who are ready to do business with the Agency, ” he said.
He explained that the agency is ready to partner with companies that were willing to convert the wastes in Akwa Ibom State to a valuable substance like fertilizer but they were affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.
“On the issue of recycling, we were working on the process but it was affected by the global pandemic and this also had an effect on the revenue generation of the agency. We had made partnerships with some companies who were supposed to take our waste and turn it into fertilizer. ”
Answering questions on why dumpsites are being kept in the centre of the town in Uyo, the Chairman stressed that these sites were temporary sites adding that there are plans to evacuate the wastes to the permanent site at Odiok Itam but the roads are not motorable.
“We have a permanent dumpsite at Odiok Itam in Itu Local Government Area and the only problem we have is the inability to access the dilapidated roads that leads to the site. Once the road is motorable, we will relocate. We have also started partnering with some companies that will convert wastes at the temporary sites to wealth.”
While briefing the lawmakers, Ikim said that his agency has proposed N585.2 million as capital expenditure for 2021 while the total revenue for 2021 still remains at N520 million.
According to him, the agency faces many challenges which include, insufficient furniture for office use; insufficient accommodation for the staff of the agency and Board Members; no functional vehicles for effective supervision and revenue collection; Lack of compactors, machines/equipment, receptacles/dumpsters for effective waste management.
He said it has resulted in the agency’s incurring huge debts on the hiring of tools and equipment to carry out waste management programmes.
However, Ikim lamented the negative effect the COVID 19 outbreak had on the agency’s revenue drive saying that out of N520 million r earmarked for the agency, only N3.8 million was generated as of October 2020.
He listed factors inhibiting revenue generation to include tax relief by the state govt due to the pandemic, Ministry of Environment insisting on internal generating revenue through their agents, court cases, the state Ibom Internal Revenue Service integrated demand notice among others.
Responding, Uduak Odudoh who heads the appropriation and finance committee of the assembly applauded Ikim and the members of the agency for their commitment in keeping Akwa Ibom State clean and urged them to partner with the Chairman in Committee of Environment so that a law can be made to add value to the agency.