Gov Emmanuel laying foundation for a viable state – Inyang

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The Chief of Staff to Akwa Ibom Governor, Chief Ephraim Inyang has said that the attraction of investors, establishment of industries and diversification of the economy has prepared the state to be economically viable and independent of allocation from central authorities in case of an emergency.

He has also blamed the non arrival of expertraites from India due to COVID-19 restrictions since last year for the non take off of the state 66 tons Coconut Refinery at Mkpat Enin Local Council.

Inyang told Correspondents in Uyo yesterday that with many industries already built and some other undergoing either technical or structural procedures, Governor Udom Emmanuel have transformed the economy of the state from a dependent one to a manufacturing and viable economy.

He said that though there were challenges because of the non industrial background and orientation of the state, the Governor has been able to revitilize the economy, more than what all his predecessors were able to do since the state was created.

“I think in all sincerity, Governor Emmanuel came with a strong desire to take the state away from central allocation, civil service, sharing of the money to a sector that is independent of whether there is allocation or not in Abuja because we may get to somewhere in the future where there will be no allocations from Abuja again.

“Our state before 2015 was basically waiting to receive money from Abuja at the end of every month. The private sector was dead before Governor Emmanuel arrived but today I can say clearly that this has changed. Laying foundation for a new thing is never easy, it is always the most difficult of any project. So the Governor came to lay a solid foundation for industrialization and although it was slow at the beginning that foundation is now a stable one.

“Also before you get people to begin to invest in a place they have not been investing before it takes a lot of energy. To have brought the syringe that is supplying syringe to all parts of the world, to get the flour Mill and the Coconut Refinery took a lot of effort. For instance the coconut project had about of challenges right from planting the coconut up till the time we were ready to install the equipments and we are still on it.

“Now building this foundation takes time but God helping the Governor to accomplish most of the foundational structures he wants to do in the private sector, the state would have been transformed and so whoever God chooses to become the next Governor will meet a private sector that is active and running.

“What makes the difference between every other state and Lagos State is not the public sector. Lagos probably by allocation gets less than Akwa Ibom but their private sector is so solid and strong that their Internally Generated Revenue is in tens of Billions every month.

“So I think that Governor Emmanuel has laid a solid foundation to activate for the first time the private sector in Akwa Ibom. Yes, like the pencil factory, it took off, wobbled and has since atabilized. So the Governor is in a journey of diversification of Akwa Ibom economy from completely being dependent on allocation from Abuja.” He explained.

Inyang said the state government remained committed to the speedy take off of the Coconut Refinery because the plant in addition to the Ibom Deep Seaport has the capacity to transform and sustain the State even without revenue from oil.

“Government had programmed the Coconut refinery to be commissioned in 2019 but COVID-19 delayed the arrival of Indians who were to install the equipments, the restrictions have made it impossible for them to come now and they may not because everybody is aware that the COVID-19 situation is bad, even from Turkey.

“So there is no magic we can do because we don’t have capable hands here. The equipments are there but for now there is nothing we can do about the COVID-19.

“You can see that we have a problem because the coming of COVID-19 has distorted a lot of plans. A lot of things we were supposed to do can no longer be done and then resources at the centre which seems to be our only source is no longer adequate.

“So in all, the foundation for industrialization has been laid and the governor had the intent that by the time he leaves office in 2023, this and that must have been completed but circumstances beyond him has made it impossible.” He explained.

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