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Industrialisation And Consolidation of AKS Economy
04 Dec 2012: Emmanuel Nicholas

The Akwa Ibom State 2012 budget was given a five star profile by intellectuals across the country. The former Minster of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El Rufai rated it as the best performing budget in terms of infrastructural evolution in Nigeria. The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi also endorsed this fact , that Chief Dr Godswill Akpabio CON is one governor that is not corrupt, saying the uncommon reformation and transformation of Akwa Ibom State with soft and hard infrastructures by his administration was a testimony to the fact that the funds allocated to the State is not looted

Recently the Ambassador of the United State of America to Nigeria while visiting the State has gloriously testified to it, saying that he sees the future of Nigeria’s economy in Akwa Ibom State. Nigeria’s literary Pope, Professor Wole Soyinka’s wife said we have come, saw ,testify and challenge any other State Government in Nigeria who has done creditably well as Akpabio led government to ask notable Nigerians to come and witness their efforts. The Husband whose tongue was cleft with praises of Akpabio’s rapid transformation of a State he used to see as no destination but now a choice destination said the gigantic stride of the Akpabio administration in the State was worth advertising to the rest of Nigerian leaders that a leader in the south-south region of the Country was a hero of incorrupt leadership, a model for others to follow. In this article I’m going to dwell on five major sectors: Roads and Transport, Education, Health, agriculture, industry and commerce in attempting to appraise the 2013 budget proposal as recently presented to the State House of Assembly.

Chief Godswill Akpabio had emphasized that the 2013 budget proposal christened “Budget of industrialization and consolidation” will be pursued for the completion of all ongoing projects across the State. Already, a tremendous achievements of his government in various aspects of our corporate existence have resulted in a phenomenal pace of development never seen in Nigeria before. We intend to make our people happy, prosperous, healthy and fulfilled through the improvement and sustenance of the on-going socio-economic transformation projects in Health, education, good roads, electricity, water supply, Agriculture, information, capacity building, infrastructure, Commerce and industry, general administration and secured environment.

"As the Governor of this great State, I have the interest of my people at heart", according to the Governor. Thus, the improvement and sustenance of the on-going socio-economic transformation projects. He stated clearly that the 2013 main objective is to improve the standard of living of the citizens of the state, develop and implement strategic plans for the complete industrialization of the state and the enhancement of our employment generating capacity, optimize the sources of the key economic drivers, particularly agriculture and small and medium scale Enterprise (SMEs) and laying a foundation for real sector growth, etc. develop strong sectoral linkages in the development processes, health, housing, education, transport, and sports. To continue to intervene through the use of direct labour projects to sustain the pace of socio- economic transformation of our rural communities, satellite towns and the state capital; ensure a peaceful and safe society through effective security surveillance in the state; promote youth and women empowerment as well as ensure the protection of the child and vulnerable groups in society to ensure social equality; expand and diversify the resource base of the State’s economy through the encouragement of public private partnership (PPP) and direct private investment (DPI); procurement of forensic equipment and establishment of forensic laboratory for investigation of criminal cases and review of obsolete laws.

The 2013 budget when passed to law is to consolidate on gains of the past by improving on the rapid development of all the sectors of Akwa Ibom Economy. Looking at Roads and Transport which had the highest allocation. "This sector has witnessed a revolution in our uncommon drive to fully reposition our dear State as a desired destination in Nigeria. The State Government has in the past five years constructed over 1, 000km of roads including federal roads across the three senatorial Districts of the State. Over N500 billion have been expended using highly reputable indigenous and international construction companies Generally, construction work on most of the roads had been completed and commissioned while a few are at various stages of completion", according to Governor Akpabio.

In Uyo Senatorial District, major network distribution include ,dualization of Ekim Itam – Ikot Oku Ikono road, Spanning a total of 21 x 2kmm,1st 2nd and 3rd flyovers in Itam Junction completed and commissioned: Internal roads in the University of Uyo spanning about 3km completed and commissioned, Aka- Nung udoe road completed and commissioned – a beautiful road to drive on; Construction of Ikot Ntan- Obiokpo – Afaha Offiong- Mbiokporo  II – Ikot edibon - Itreto (section 121km and section 11 10 5km) is nearly completed,Remodeling of strategic round-abouts in uyo metropolis in progress;Construction of Aka-Etinan (section  II) is on-going and other roads within Uyo metropolis –on-going, eg. Shelter Afrique crescent roads and Etinan urban roads (11 7km).

Those of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District is not left out of this transformation as a total of about 35 roads, spanning over 45km in length, have been awarded in Ikot ekpene urban and Essien Udim. More than 30 roads with additional works have been completed/commissioned and a few nearly completed;The Constriction/dualization of Ikot Ekpene_ Abak road, spanning through 25.x 2km- 50.4km, has been completed and commissioned;Afaha Obong- Etim Ekpo-Urua Inyang-Iwukem road, a total of 53.5 km has been completed and commissioned. Phase II of the project is on-going; Construction of Abak- Utu nsehe- Etim Ekpo road phase I is nearly completed;Construction of abak urban roads is 80% completed with Bridge;Construction of Ikpe Ikot Nkon - Arochukwu road with 150Km span to nkana Bridge – Ini LGA (10km) is on-going; Construction of Oku Obom-Usaka Annang road (10km) is on-going; Construction of urban roads in Essien Udim (6 roads are on-going), dualization of Uyo – Ikot Ekpene road is ongoing and Construction or roads in Ikono and Ini Local government Areas.

Eket Senatorial District is not left out of the wind of change as within the Eket urban, 49 roads totaling over 29km in length have been awarded and some commissioned; Oron has witnessed major transformation with 7.3m roadway design, together with shoulders and drains. A total of 34 roads of 21km have been awarded for construction most of the roads have been completed and commissioned while some were re-awarded; Ikot Abasi has a total of 18 roads totaling 12km, seven (7) of which have been completed and commissioned;The Etebi Enwang road with the longest bridge in the state will open up the region to increased economic activities especially fishning and trade; Construction of Mkpat Enin – Ikot Essang road (section 1, 1350km) is on-going.

Flyovers have also been constructed to ease the traffic congestion and add beauty to the gateway of the capital city , Uyo ,the present administration has constructed four Flyover in Uyo metropolis. Flyover I – across Itam peace column, flyover II – across Atiku Abubakar Junction by Idoro road; flyover III – across Ikot Ekpene road, near NNPC Mega station;Flyover IV – Abak road across the 3rd Ring Road. Abak road-Ikot Okubo flyover has been completed and commissioned.

As a demonstration of Sincerity in governance, the Government embarked on the construction of federal roads within the state. These include the dualization of Ekim Itam-Ikot Oku Ikono, a distance of 21Km or (42km as a single carriage way), the Afaha Obong-Etim Ekpo- Iwukem road, a distance of 42.7km, the construction of Oron Road Airport Loop 2 (Ikot Asua-Odobo –Nung Atai eta) a distance of 8. 2km, and the (42km), Abak – Ikot Ekpene road, a distance of 25 1km or (50.2km as a single carriageway). Cumulatively, these total a distance of 198.6km at the cost of one hundred and three billion Naira (N103 billion). On road maintenance, the government evolved a novel project “Operation Zero Pothole” targeted at eradicating potholes on various township roads. This has proved successful and is on-going.

Electricity projects-include among others,Electrification of Ikot Ibekwe and environs in Ukanafun Local Government Area, construction of relief sub-station at Ekpe Nkereuwem close and Lagos Street, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo, supply and installation of hybrid (solar/PHCN) powered traffic control lights at road intersections in Uyo urban, purchase of Hiab Crane, installation of solar street lighting along part of B. G. Bassey avenue in Ewet Housing estate, Uyo and Market road and cardinal Ekanem Road in Ikot Ekpene. Electrification of mbiabong Anyanya 1, and Atan/ Owok Ekong. Electrification of mbiabong anyanya II/ youth avenue and Mbiabong Anyanya III. Ifa Ikot Okpon road,Electrification of farm settlement at outer ring road II, Uyo. In addition, relocation of electric poles in 30 road projects in the State is at 95% completion

To consolidate on these performance the State Government will focus on the completion of all ongoing road construction projects across the State. A total estimate of N89.70 billion has been provided for road infrastructure and transport in 2013.

In the Health sector Government overall development objective is to bring about significant improvement in human condition with attendant increase in total economic output of the state. In realization of his broad development objective, government will continue to pursue health goals as a major growth index and as a means to achieve the related higher labour productivity in Akwa Ibom State.

Government has focused attention on completing three cottage Hospitals at Eastern Obolo which is now 100% completed; Ika now 98% completed, and in ukanafun work has reached 72%. Government awarded contract for the construction of House officers’ residential quarters in general hospital, Eket, where work is now at 70% completion.

There is continued progress of work on the 20th anniversary specialist Hospital Ekit Itam. From 2011, government conducted several sessions of free health campaigns in which our citizens were treated for various illnesses. This programme complements our free medical treatment for pregnant women, children under 5 years and the elderly above 70 years of age.

In 2013 the Government of Akwa Ibom will dwell on the programmemes in consolidating on the past gains for higher results. HIV/AIDs control, prevention and treatment, reduction in maternal and infant mortality through the implementation of Integrated Maternal, New Born child Health, (IMNCH) Programme, Free medical treatment for under 5 children, pregnant women and the elderly. Provision of new equipment in general and cottage hospitals in the state public lab and diagnostic centre, provision of drugs to Government –owned hospitals and clinics through state central drug depot: To enthrone best practices as an abiding principle of public sector administration and ensuring effective and efficient application of our limited resources through prioritization. Completion of on-going construction of cottage Hospitals and 20th Anniversary specialist  Hospital /provision of facilities , continuous recruitment of doctors and nurses, provision of professional manpower training for the health care sector . the total sum of n 17.802 billion naira has been estimated for the health sector in 20013.

In The year 2012 agriculture witnessed a serious turn-around the state. The federal government through the federal ministry of Agriculture and rural development (FMARD) introduced the Agricultural transformation Agenda (ATA) and growth enhancement support (GES) programme which is aimed at making agriculture a business. The state government has keyed into this programme, to tap the derivable benefit. In 2012, the 540,00 egg capacity poultry hatchery at Mbiaya Uruan (Uruan Local government Area) has been completed and is ready for production of day old (D.O) chicks for the teeming poultry farmers in Akwa Ibom state in particular and south-south geographical zone in general. The project is to be managed under Public- private partnership (PPP) arrangement.

The Integrated Farmers Scheme (IFS) as at 2012, had recruited and trained about 3, 407 youths each of whom has been empowered with N500.00 interest free loan for investment in different sectors of agriculture. Subsequently, Government has embarked on various programmes and activities aimed at creating and sustaining a clean and healthy environment in addition to the attainment of the 7th millennium development Goal-environmental sustainability. Increase in the production of pigs, rabbits, goats, fresh fish, plantain and pineapple. This scheme (IFS), the FADAMA III programme among other programmes of the ministry of Agriculture such as the Rice project, community plantation development sheme (CPDS) are revolutionary initiatives to intervene in food and crop production, 4, 500 women have been effectively mobilized, trained and empowered with N250, 000.00 grant each to go into agro - business with the aim of entrepreneurship in the state. In year 2013, Government will aggressively pursue and consolidate on this people oriented policy programmes to achieve a better living standard for our people. To make our aspiration in this sector realizable in 2013, my administration has estimated a total of N9.454 billion.

On Industries, commerce and Tourism sub sector Government’s intention in establishing 31 industries in the 31 LGAs is irrevocable as the industrization drive is to be pursued with vigour. Development of investment enterprises such as deep sea port. Oil and Gas Industrial processing, and free trade Zone. The federal government through the approval of Mr. President has inaugurated an implementation committee in collaboration with the state government and has appointed a consultant to ensure the realization of this noble project. This initiative aimed at development of a multi-lateral business interaction zone to expand industrial/commercial activities will be vigorously pursued. Others include Ibom enterprise development scheme aimed at floating funds for investment in small and medium scale Enterprise (SMEs).

The State government has already signed memorandum of understanding with Bank of Industries to develop the entrepreneurial capacity of our small and medium scale industrialists. This collaboration is to create an industrial fund of five billion naira with the State counterpart fund on lending to serious minded entrepreneurs in the State to develop their productive capacities , generate employment and alleviate poverty amongst our people. This is a demonstration of our desire and commitment towards the achievement of our industrialization policy thrust and a capital budget of 71.565 billion naira has been estimated in 2013 fiscal year, the sector is now open for all Akwa Ibom people home and abroad who has any technological ideas for industrialization to take advantage of this great gesture.

In Education, science and Technology ,The policy of free and compulsory education at the primary and post primary levels has already been established in the state. The construction of new classroom blocks, procurement of reading materials and the training of teachers to meet the challenges of the policy. More teachers will also be recruited, registered and licensed to meet professional standards. Besides, there will be sensitization programmes for public and private school teachers. The Akwa Ibom State University is steadily making progress as it is now in its third year and has also acquired its master plan.

Payments of examination fees WAEC. NABTEB and Scholarship to Undergraduate, Post graduate and Ph.D students, maritime, French immersion, Physically challenged , law grants medical/Surgery and dental scholarship shall continue. Moreover, technical education will be given adequate attention as there are plans to reopen Government technical colleges at Ikot Ada Idem in Ibiono Ibom and Ukana Ikot Ntuen, Essien Udim Local government Area.

In order to ensure quality education, the ten Zonal directorates of education and twenty one Area education officers will continue to monitor and supervisie schools regularly for maintenance of minimum standard.

The 2013 budget also aims at strengthening and improving on the Educational planning function through the Education management information system (EMIS) for better and more effective system of data collection, storage, retrieval and analysis.

The science and technology sub-sector, which is designed to enhance self employment, will continue to receive serious attention from government . the various programmes in education, Science and technology will gulp a total N19.815 billion.

The government of Chief Dr Godswill Akpabio has vowed to implement the 2013 budget by Building a strong fiscal regime through the expansion of our revenue base and the elimination of wastages and leakages in our expenditure profile; Building on the current foundation so far laid and consolidating the gains of a world class infrastructural development by employing effective public – private partnership. Increasing the viability of Akwa Ibom maritime, the air space-airport facilities and expansion of our road infrastructure; Reinvigorating Agriculture and Agro allied industries by making the sector an alternative revenue earner and responsive to global change. To make government subsidies reach end-users and generate output to ensure a sustainable food supply for consumption as well as provide raw materials to agro-allied industries; Sustain women and youth empowerment through capacity building and elimination of gender discrimination practices against women and implementation of the child’s right Law. Developing the tourism potentials in the state in order to boost revenue base and enhance employment opportunities; Building an efficient security network around the state that is proactive to foil attacks and make the state more peaceful, thereby encouraging investment; Making the public service efficient and effective to meet the challenges of good governance.

With the above laid down budget for the sectors when pass to Law, the economy of Akwa Ibom State will be consolidated for higher results while the industrialization programme will be made visible. 2013 is a year the people of Akwa Ibom will move away totally from penury to wealth because the rural and Urban dwellers, and those in the Diaspora will be impacted upon by this Budget of Industrialization and consolidation if they take advantage of it, as the Government of Chief Godswill Akpabio is ready to partner with all the indigenes of the State who has a clear knowledge of any venture that will develop the State economy.

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