Fostering economic growth through industrial revamp in Akwa Ibom
The industrial sector of any country is a catalyst for economic growth and if properly utilized will foster an impressive GDP performance and an agile economy. An impressive GDP serves as one of the indices of the economic wellbeing of a nation as it reflects other fundamental metrics that guarantee sustainable development, such as employment and inflation control.
The sustainable successes of these traditional economic giants and the rise of emerging ones, like the UAE, and China has consistently proven to us that creating an enviable economy is no rocket science; it only takes a visionary leader and a succession of others loyal to the vision through integrity, transparency, and teamwork.
Over the years, many countries, with the United Arab Emirate as the prime example, have raised their GDP to a high level through vigorous industrialization of their economies. From countries that were mediocre in the early 1980s, they have risen to become the most flourishing countries that attract the best brains around the world to propel them to produce world-class products and services.
Akwa Ibom, with a population of over five million and landmass of 6,900 square kilometers has made giant strides in tandem with the vision set for the state governor, Udom Emmanuel to transform the “Land of Promise” which was primarily a civil servant state into an economically stable state through sustainable and strategic industrialization.
Udom’s industrialization program has seen the birth of Ibom Airline with a fleet of four aircraft; establishment of an electric meter factory with capacity to produce about one million units of meters annually. His vision again attracted Turkish investors to set up a syringe manufacturing factory located in Onna Local Government Area with capacity to produce 350million units of 2ml, 5ml, and 10ml disposable syringes annually.
The first factory to produce toothpicks and pencils in Nigeria was set up in Akwa Ibom. This development has put an end to the importation of these basic products from China and other neighboring countries. The state also has established a plastic manufacturing plant at its Industrial Park in Itu. The plant has the capacity to generate one billion naira annually in addition to generating 10,000 jobs for the people of Akwa Ibom.
There is also a fledgling Coconut Oil Factory in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of the state with capacity to generate about 1,500 direct jobs contributing about $20million to Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
While presenting the 2021 budget, tagged: “Budget of Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation” to the House of Assembly, Udom said: “Our strategy for the development of this state has been the need to rapidly industrialize her, and create employment and wealth opportunities for our people. We have done exceedingly well in this regard through the over 20 industries we have attracted so far to this state, more of which would have attracted, if we were not hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He further pledged: “As the world opens up POST-COVID-19, we will accelerate our pace in this area and continue to attract viable industries that would help with our strategic and sustainable developmental plans. We remain committed to the realization of our plans on ‘Power for All’ by 2021.”
Facts and figures also affirm that the Akwa Ibom governor is not resting on his oars as he stays focused on the five-point agenda — small and medium scale enterprises development; infrastructure, security, human capacity development; agriculture and rural and riverine area development.
In 2021, the state citizens are assured of more positive development from the governor who has already given a hint of the other developments in the offing when he disclosed his plans to establish, at least, one petrol refinery, one power plant, one petrochemical plant, one Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, one fertilizer manufacturing plant, and one steel plant in the state before the end of his administration in 2023.