Gov Emmanuel planning Akwa Ibom beyond oil — Commissioner

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Ememobong was speaking during an interview session at the premiere edition of the television programme: Update Akwa Ibom aired on Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Cooperation (AKBC) TV.

He commented on the recent signing of the $1.4b contracts between OCP Africa, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Akwa Ibom State government in Morocco for the construction of a fertilizer plant in Akwa Ibom.

The Commissioner said the Plant would further open up multi-dimensional opportunities for the citizenry and residents thus diversifying the local economy away from crude oil.

On why Akwa Ibom was chosen – out of the 36 ststes and Abuja – as the destination for the siting of the plant, Mr Ememobong said: “The most important reason for the choice of Akwa Ibom is because the Governor has made the state very attractive and viable for investors through the provision of an ambient that helps businesses to thrive.”

“Again, Akwa Ibom was selected because it has enormous gas deposits, and people want to invest in an environment where they are safe and sure of having returns on their investments, and that is exactly what the state is offering to all potential investors,” he added.

The fertilizer plant would be sited along the Ikot Abasi belt “because of its comparative advantage in terms of specific raw materials needed for production”.

“The MoU for the construction of the fertilizer plant has enormous potentials and beautiful components capable of transforming the agricultural sector in the state,” the commissioner added.

While urging communities hosting various projects across the state to embrace dialogue and peaceful negotiation, he equally said it would be more profitable for them to look out for the long term benefits of hosting such establishments instead of agitating for compensation for land ceded to such companies as their first line of demand.

Elsewhere in the State, the Commissioner disclosed that the government had given a final nod for the remodeling of the Ibom Plaza into a cynosure of a beautiful city centre in order to boost the image of the state.

“The remodeling exercise would be done is such a way that all the components of a city centre would be made available there, and these would include stalls and other amazing lifestyle facilities to promote shopping and leisure.

“The remodeling would also address all the security concerns that have been reported lately around that area,” Ememobong added.

On how the state government intends to fund the project without other ongoing projects bearing the brunt financially, the Commissioner said: “The deal is structured through a Private Partnership Participation (PPP), so government alone would not have to provide all the necessary funding for the exercise.”

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