A’Ibom govt partners foreign firms for housing, agro business.

By Isaac Job

Akwa Ibom state government has set modalities for foreign companies such as British African Business Alliance Ltd and PJ-IC International to provide affordable medium-density housing schemes for civil servants while engaging another firm to enhance the fortune of farmers in agribusinesses in the state

Speaking at Government House, Uyo on Monday, governor Emmanuel said the two deals were brokered on Sunday after a meeting with two foreign firms as one of them will establish processing lines as standby off-takers of farm produce.

Governor Emmanuel assured that despite the few months to winding down his administration, he would continue to woo multinationals to explore the vast Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) opportunities and relatively business-friendly atmosphere in the state as government is continuous.

He said the meeting was a follow-up to the recent interaction with investors during the last London Summit on “Achieving Global Peace Through Trade”, at Westminster which afforded the British African Business Alliance Limited opportunity to explore investment windows in the area of Human Capacity Development, Real Estate and Power Generation, while PJ-IC International will invest on Gas Cylinder production and Agricultural Processing Lines.

Emmanuel assured the investors of the state government’s readiness to partner with the companies for the speedy delivery of the housing scheme and explained the imperative of keeping the cost within affordable limits of Civil Servants to ensure the targeted beneficiaries are not priced out which may defeat the purpose.

“On the low-cost housing, there’s a scheme we’ve designed and we already have in the coffers, prepaid, five billion naira set aside to deliver some medium density housing of about six hundred and seventy-five units.

“We’ve tried something before but at the end of it all, we realise the cost was much more than what the capacity of the 10-15 years mortgage that the public servants could finance, so the houses end up being acquired by businessmen who could afford much more, who then lease them out to the Civil Servants at a cost that swallows up all their earnings.

“So the purpose and the social contract I have with them get defeated ab initio”, Governor Emmanuel stated.

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The governor decried the situation in which farmers are compelled to sell off their harvest at prices too low for business due to the perishable nature of farm produce and therefore expressed readiness to partner with PJ-IC International for a farm produce processing line.

He said the partnership will make farming a lucrative business with a vast value chain where farmers have ready off-takers at acceptable prices and assured the investors of the fertility of Akwa Ibom soil to produce enough to feed the factories.

The Chief Executive Officer, British African Business Alliance Limited, David Smith, expressed delight on his second visit to Nigeria, saying that the visit is a follow-up to the discussion with Governor Emmanuel on harnessing the abundant gas deposits in the state to generate electricity.

He assured on human capacity building through vocational education and provision of low-cost housing by his company and announced that his company was willing to ship a ready-made Gas Plant into the state.

He said that the investment-friendly atmosphere of the state administration has attracted other partners with specialities in waste recycling and power generation to invest in the state and hoped that the company will arrive soon.

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