The administration of Akwa Ibom State has partnered with PJ-IC International and British African Business Alliance Limited to provide state employees with affordable housing options.
The creation of processing lines as off-takers of farm produce is another action the government has taken to improve the fortunes of farmers.
The governor of the state, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, stated during a meeting with the investors at government house in Uyo that his administration will keep working with foreign investors to explore prospects and a business-friendly environment in the state.
The governor reassured investors that the government was ready to work with the companies to quickly complete the housing project.
He emphasized the necessity of keeping housing costs within ranges that are affordable for federal servants in order to prevent beneficiaries from being priced out.
“On the low-cost housing, there’s a scheme we’ve designed and we already have in the coffers, prepaid, N5 billion set aside to deliver medium density housing of about 675 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 social contract I have with them gets defeated abinitio,” he said.
He bemoaned the situation where farmers are forced to sell off their product at low prices since farm food is perishable. In light of this, the governor declared his willingness to collaborate with PJ-IC International on a farm product processing line.
According to Udom, the cooperation would turn farming into a successful industry with a significant value chain where farmers would be ready buyers at reasonable prices and guarantee the investors of the fertility of the Akwa Ibom soil to generate an adequate amount of food.
David Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of British African Business Alliance Limited, said the visit is a follow-up to the conversation with Governor Emmanuel about utilizing the state’s vast gas deposits to produce energy.
While promising support for the company’s efforts to build capacity through vocational training and the provision of affordable housing, he also revealed that the company was willing to bring a ready-made gas plant into the state.
Smith noted that other partners with expertise in waste recycling and power generation have been drawn to the state due to its investment-friendly environment.