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Why we are investing in aviation industry, by Cross River government

By Anietie Akpan and Agosi Todo, Calabar
21 May 2020   |   3:32 am
Cross River State Government has started reordering its priorities to meet up with the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic by taking N4.5 billion from the local council

NAFDAC, SON certify state garment factory for nose-masks production

Cross River State Government has started reordering its priorities to meet up with aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic by taking N4.5 billion from the local council purse to invest in the aviation industry.

The state government had in a letter with reference No. MLGA/e-P090/2020 and signed by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Stella Odey; Permanent Secretary, James Odok; Director of Accounts, Ironbar Bassey and another Director of Accounts, Mrs. Paulina Odey, directed First Bank to “transfer N4.5 billion only from the Cross River State Local Government Salary Account to the local governments’ capital project accounts indicated in the schedule,” meaning that each of the council’s accounts should be credited with N250 million totalling N4.5 billion for the Cally Airline and Airport project which is located in Obudu.

Justifying why the state is investing in the aviation industry in this period of the pandemic, the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong (Jnr), at a briefing with some newsmen yesterday said: “The state sees an end to the virus, and so, it is important for us to realise that it is in the time of crisis and recession that heroes are born. When you have challenges, those companies founded during that period are those that grow up to dominate the world. The airline industry is under problems right now and there will never be a cheaper time to buy a plane than now. All the airlines are stranded and are on tarmac.

“Soon, we are going to witness these dark days of zero allocation from crude oil. We earn billions of dollars from crude but there is going to be zero now.”

In another development, two regulatory bodies, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have given approval to Cross River State garment factory to continue production of nose-masks.

The Acting Managing Director of the factory, Joseph Edet, popularly known as La’shakara, disclosed this yesterday after receiving the letter of approval from officials of the regulatory bodies.

Cross River State was one of the first states in the country to start the production of over a million of nose-masks for its citizens at the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “I’m very delighted to announce that Cross River State garment factory has just received administrative approvals from NAFDAC and an endorsement from SON. What this means basically is that the garment factory is ready to go global with its products with the much-acclaimed NAFDAC number now to be added to our facemasks.

“These approvals were got after a rigorous and thorough process by the officials of NAFDAC on our nose-masks. They ran tests on our masks, looked at the double layering of the masks and also looked at the 95 replica that we have. After seeing the first layer of the polycithene fabric and seeing the second layer inside as the lining fabric, then another layer to cover up, they were quite satisfied and that is why we have been granted these approvals.”

Edet, however, attributed all the achievements recorded so far to the proactive measures taken by the governor, as he promised to give the factory his best to meet up with production targets.

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