100 Days: Gov Otu claims $15m investment attracted to boost oil palm sector
Cross River State government has attracted $15m private sector investment into the Ayip Eku Oil Palm Estate with potential multiple effects on employment and growth of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The State Governor, Senator Bassey Edet Otu, disclosed this while briefing the media in Calabar on the achievements recorded so far by his administration in his first 100 days in office.
He noted that the state has comparative advantage in the area of agriculture; reason prime attention is being given to the sector.
Otu said that government has also developed a six-year N30b agricultural credit guarantee fund for rice, maize, fisheries and livestock farmers.
He said that in order to ascertain with precision the soil texture for specific crops in the different zones of the state, government has commenced state-wide digital soil fertility mapping for greater yields of different crops.
The governor said that in partnership with the Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (ORGAN), the state government has commenced the planting of 3.5million hybrid oil palm seedlings in 13 locations across the state.
Under agric-related human capital development, Otu further disclosed that the state government has sponsored indigenes of the state to participate in cassava bio-value chain conference in Asaba, Delta State for subsequent establishment of cassava bio-fuel factory in the state, as well as workshop on sustainable oil palm economy.
According to him, 50 starter-rice growers have been given free rice seedlings, fertilizer and pesticides, while 30 starter-livestock farmers have been assisted with day old chicks and feeds, among others.
Under infrastructure development, the governor said government has upgraded and completed the ultra-modern Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) which hosted the recently concluded International Cooperation and Investment Summit, completed 1.2km concrete paved Nyong Edem Street, Calabar.
South, rehabilitated Edet Ansa Farm Access Road and Etap Ayip Road in Calabar Municipality.
“We have also completed the rehabilitation of 3km Bebuasuan Rural Access Road in Obudu Local Council as well as 3km Ketting Community Road in Obanliku Local Council. Work is ongoing on the re-modeling and renovation of the Governor’s Office Complex, construction of 39km Ukelle Road in Yala Local Council.”
He also said that in order to transform the state into a transit hub and evacuation corridor, the state government has attracted an Irish Aviation Company to build and run an Aviation Training School in Bebi, Obanliku with government undertaking payment of full tuition fees for all the indigenes of the state enrolled in the institution.
The further said that N3.7bn has been made available by the state government for the completion of the Obudu Cargo and Passenger Airport.
Under general administration, Otu said on assumption of office, his administration inherited a 40-ministry structure, but in order to align its lean resources with the reality of the times, government has been able to restructure and compress the ministries to 31.
“We have successfully re-structured our debt repayment to give room for development projects. And for the first time in recent past, we have fully mobilised our contingent to the forth coming National Sports Festival billed for Asaba, Delta State.
“I am also glad to announce to the teeming residents of the state that the recently concluded International Cooperation and Investment Summit yielded good result with over $1b financial commitment to be invested by way of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The governor also said the state government is not ignorant of the hardship its citizens are passing through occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal.
To cushion the effect of the unpleasant situation, he said the state government has reduced working days for civil servants on Grade Level13 and below from five to three days per week while those on level 14 and above still be expected to work for the usual five days a week, will enjoy a monthly stipend that will be added to their monthly salaries.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.