The Akwa Ibom State Government says it has mapped out strategies to attract more investors to the state in order to create jobs that will boost the state’s economy.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, said the state government had planted two million coconut trees as part of the plans to establish a coconut refinery in the state.
He said the era of depending on huge allocations from the Federal Government was over, stressing that the state governments must learn how to expand their internal revenue bases.
A statement quoted him as saying, “Some people have asked the question on why we love going into areas that are not popular; why we are not cultivating vegetables or planting what others are planting. The truth of the matter is that this is just a precursor to the establishment of a coconut refinery in the state.
“I don’t need to explain to you how many things could be derived from coconut through refining. You can also imagine how many jobs will be created in the process.”
“Our plan is to create structures that will outlive our administration. When you make a business the business of government, the venture will not survive after the administration. When you allow investors to operate it, you have created the opportunity for the business to be sustainable after your administration.
“What we are doing is to create the atmosphere and partner the private sector, which will operate the business. Our aim is to attract investors to the state and allow them to contribute meaningfully to the state economy.”
Udoh also said that work was ongoing to establish a toothpick factory in the state, which would source its raw materials locally.
He stated, “We must establish a toothpick factory because Nigeria currently imports toothpicks from China. We are not importing the materials; they will be sourced locally.
“Very soon, we will be exporting toothpicks to other West African countries. The state has equity in this but we will allow investors to operate the business.”