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Emmanuel laying foundation for private sector-driven economy, says Inyang

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Udom Emmanuel

Laments delay in completing coconut refinery
The Chief of Staff to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Ephraim Inyang, has said that Governor Udom Emmanuel is preparing the state for a private sector-driven economy.

He cited the governor’s efforts towards attracting investors, establishing industries and diversifying the economy.

In a chat with The Guardian, yesterday, he said the delay in completing the 66-tonne coconut oil refinery in the state was caused by non-arrival of expatriates from India due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) restrictions.

According to him, with some industries already built and others undergoing technical or structural procedures, Governor Emmanuel would have transformed the economy of the state from a dependent to a manufacturing and viable economy.

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Though there were challenges because of the non-industrial background and orientation of the state, the governor has been able to revitilise the economy more than what all his predecessors were able to so since the state was created.

“I think, in all sincerity, Governor Emmanuel came with a strong desire to take the state away from central allocation, civil service, sharing of the money to a sector that is independent of whether there is allocation or not in Abuja, because we may get to somewhere in the future where there will be no allocations from Abuja again.

“Our state, before 2015, was basically waiting to receive money from Abuja at the end of every month. The private sector was dead before Emmanuel arrived; but today, I can say clearly that this has changed. Laying foundation for a new thing is never easy; it is always the most difficult part of any project. So, the governor came to lay a solid foundation for industrialisation. Although it was slow at the beginning,” he said.

Inyang added that the state government remained committed to the speedy take-off of the Coconut Refinery because the plant, in addition to the Ibom Deep Seaport, has the capacity to transform and sustain the state, even without revenue from crude oil.

His words: “Government had programmed the coconut refinery to be commissioned in 2019, but COVID-19 delayed the arrival of Indians who were to instal the equipment.

The restriction has made it impossible for them to come now, and they may never come because everybody is aware that the COVID-19 situation is bad, even from Turkey.”

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