In line with his pre-election promise to diversify the State’s economy governor Udom Emmanuel has set the tone for the effective implementation of the policy.
With the toothpick, pencil and electric meter manufacturing plants already in place in Etinan and Onna Local Government Areas, the governor said the administration had set its sight on improving healthcare infrastructure in the state.
Towards this end, the administration, according Emmanuel, was working with other development partners to ensure the completion of the ongoing syringe manufacturing company in the state.
When completed, the governor said the plant would churn out no fewer than 400 million pieces of syringes yearly.
Speaking in Uyo, the State capital at the weekend during the monthly prayer meeting held at the Latter House Chapel, Government House, Emmanuel disclosed that some engineering graduates had already be mobilised and dispatched to Europe to acquire the necessary technological expertise for the project.
The engineers, according Emmanuel, departed the state at the weekend to Vienna, Austria, where they were expected to undergo specialty training for skills acquisition on medical consumables including how to produce syringes.
It was learnt the deal followed a technology transfer agreement reached between the administration of governor Emmanuel and authorities in Vienna.
When completed, the factory in Akwa Ibom with eight production lines, the governor said, would outstrip South Africa, which currently ranks as the highest syringe producer in Africa with 95 million syringes yearly.
“We have seen something very special in Vienna, which is why we picked up some youths engineers of between 18 and 23, to make them come up with some engineering designs, saying the beneficiaries would be bonded “to discourage any of them from absconding after the training”.
He lamented that the slight setback recorded in the drive towards effective implementation of the industrialization policy was the instability in the Foreign Exchange (Forex), which distorted the original budget plans for the scheme.
“We planned at between N198 and N200 to a Dollar, but the Dollar went for above 500 Dollars, and that shortened our plans. Even investors were reluctant to bring money into the economy, but by the special grace of God, the economy is picking up and most of those things will stabilise,” he explained.
He hoped that with a lot of ongoing transformational activities detailed to happen in the state between now and the third quarter, more job opportunities would be generated for the youths to be meaningfully engaged.
The governor therefore asked stakeholders and community leaders to impress it on the youths against working to thwart government development plans for their communities.
“Tell your youths that there is no way one can make an omelet without breaking the egg, the land they have will remain valueless, except we create value out of it”, he explained and warned restive youths against any act that would compel government to resort to the use of force to bring development projects to communities.
Besides, the governor warned that his administration would not hesitate to relocate development projects to safer areas if sufficient evidences were established that such projects were under genuine threats of being vandalized.