Thursday, 5 March 2015

Appraisal of Umana’s industrialisation policy for Akwa Ibom

Appraisal of Umana’s industrialisation policy for Akwa Ibom


It is a fact that no nation can expect  to grow out of poverty and unemployment without a viable and virile industrial sector. Experts have attributed the high unemployment index in Nigeria to the absence of a strong industrial base. This situation, according to analysts, has contributed to the present high poverty level in the country because government is the major employer of labour. Since Akwa Ibom state was created it has remained a civil service state. Successive administrations did not make a policy to build a strong industrial base to drive the economy. 

The few industries that were inherited at the creation of the state were allowed to die because of poor management. The position of the leadership has always been that government has no business in establishing industries but should only provide the infrastructure and conducive environment for private sector to build industries. This policy has kept Akwa Ibom where it is today. But the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the state, Obong Umana Okon Umana has come up with a road map for industrial development of the state which he promised his administration will implement if voted into office. 
Thus, in line with the APC manifesto of ensuring positive and real change in all sectors, Umana has promised active government participation in the industrialisation of the state beyond the provision of infrastructural facilities and a conducive environment. This policy, according to Umana, will enable government to collaborate with the private sector to establish industries in the state. The management of such companies will be handed over to the private investors on agreed terms. He reasoned that the adoption of this policy apart from fast-tracking the  industrial development of the state will also ensure that indigenous investors who do not have the capital to establish their own industries but have the managerial skill can collaborate with government in setting up industries. 

He identified the enormous agricultural and natural resources in the state as the needed raw materials to support the establishment of agro-based, petrochemical and other industries. Consequently, the APC governorship candidate has promised that his administration will encourage large scale cultivation of cash crops such as oil palm tree, rubber and cocoa and more investments in the oil and gas and the maritime sectors. Obong Umana maintained that this deliberate policy by the incoming APC government from May29,2015 will help to diversify the state’s economy as well as create more jobs for the people. 

As a listening administrator, Umana has assured the speedy completion of the process for the privatisation of Quality Ceramics industry in Itu, Peacock Paint factory in Etinan among other moribund companies in the state. As an economist and an expert in financial management, Umana has promised an unprecedented industrial revolution in the state during his tenure as governor. 
Really, Umana’s blue print for industrial development in Akwa Ibom State in the next four years is a clear departure from the policy of the present administration which has been paying lips service to the sector in the past eight years. For instance, it is on record that Governor Godswill Akpabio promised to build a cottage industry in each of the 31 local government areas of the state during his electioneering campaign for re-election for a second term in 2011, but has failed to deliver on his promise till today.

Obviously, citizens of the state are of the opinion that this is exactly what Chief Akpabio wants his political godson, the PDP governorship candidate, Mr Udom Emmanuel to consolidate and continue with as a policy of his administration if voted into office.

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