By; Patrick Titus, Uyo.
Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo said private investment still remained the greatest drivers of progress anywhere in the world, and challenged Akwa Ibom State to intensify efforts towards attracting private investors into the state.
Osinbajo stated in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital during a stakeholder’s town hall meeting in continuation of Federal Government fact-finding visit aimed at bringing a solution the Niger Delta region.
The Acting President who assured that the Federal Government would look into the various issues raised by the stakeholders ranging from completion of the East-West road project, Youth Amnesty programme, upgrading of the Maritime Academy Oron to a University status, the completion of the Ibaka deep Seaport project, MRO Hanger at Ibom International Airport among others maintained that the state should not rely solely on federal government to improve on its economy.
He said, “The biggest benefit you can attain as a state is to attract private investors. We must provide the enabling environment to attract private investments because it is not every time you call on the federal government”
He also advised the state to embark on programmes that would encourage participation of young people in innovative technology, adding that he would ensure that technological centre is located Akwa Ibom state.
Speaking earlier Governor Udom Emmanuel accused the Federal Government of paying lip service to the Youth Amnesty programme in the Niger Delta region, noting that so many Akwa Ibom youths were not integrated into the programme.
He also said that Akwa Ibom state does not have a single signature project of the Federal government despite its huge contributions to nation building.
He noted that bad politic has smuggled into the construction of Ibom deep seaport project and development of oil block into a commercial quantities, pointing out that even many foreign investors that have shown interest in the projects have been discouraged due to bottleneck from the federal government.
Emmanuel also solicited loan facilities from Federal government to complete most of its ongoing income generating projects such as the MRO hanger which is 70 percent completed, the Ibaka Deep sea port, and the setting up of the Coconut refinery.
According to the Governor, income that will be generated from the investments will repay the loan within a short time.
He also called on the federal government to find a political solution to the lingering litigation at Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi because of its viability to the nation economy including massive job opportunities for youths in the state.
The Governor who was giving a summary of the people’s demands at the town hall meeting added that the issue of Local Content Law should be properly addressed, lamenting that people of oil bearing region only hear of the benefits of the products while people from non oil bearing areas enjoy the proceeds.
“If the Local content Law must succeed the Federal government must build skill development centres for oil and gas in the state. Akwa Ibom state is also interested in owning oil and gas blocks. We also have interest in developing the oil and gas industry
“Most Aircrafts have been abandoned because we don’t have hangars that are completed. We need this to be done, even if the Federal Government will give us loan, I assure that we will pay back”, he stressed.