Joe Effiong, Uyo
Oil giants, ExxonMobil and power firm QIPP, have initiated plans to invest a combined $1.6 billion in the development of gas and power projects in Akwa Ibom State soon.
The initiative would see QIPP invest $1.1 billion in the building of a gas power plant with ExxonMobil investing $500 million in a gas project in the area.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, who announced this, at the weekend, at the South South regional workshop and stakeholders forum on the ease of doing business in Nigeria held, in Uyo, said these were part of the plans to boost the economy of the state through strategic investments and business.
Governor Emmanuel, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo, stated that the state government had initiated strategies and policies meant to make investors especially SMEs have limited challenges in carrying out their business in the state.
The governor also said that efforts had also been made to encourage Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state to discharge their obligations to projects and ensure transparency in the handling of business promotions to enable SMEs thrive in the area.
He lauded the rating given to the state by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and commended Vice President Yemi Osibanjo for his efforts at improving the global ranking of Nigeria on the ease of doing business
In a remark, Secretary to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, said that the council had implemented over 100 reforms in the country’s business climate and is presently collaborating with all the states in moving the reforms ahead.
Oduwole, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, stated that the Council had been focusing on SMEs said the forum is meant to provide feedback and information on government policies and initiatives on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Earlier in an address, the state’s Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Mr. Ukpong Akpabio, said that provision of critical infrastructures like access roads and power by the state government were meant to reduce the cost of doing business in the area.
Akpabio explained that government had also incorporated sustainable development policies and ensured that the interest of prospective investors were in tandem with the needs of the people in the implementation of the state investment policies.
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The state government, the Commissioner said has also commissioned an industrial park at Itu local council and has ensured prompt allocation of land for industrial, agricultural and housing projects with Certificates of Occupancy for such plots processed for approval within the shortest possible time.
“The industrial drive of the state government has been focused on stimulating sustainable economic growth and development.
“We have adopted global best practices in doing business thereby entrenching transparency and accountability. It is our collective aspiration that our successes in this regard will be boldly written on the sands of time,” he concluded.