Prices of food, sachet water, PPEs skyrocket in Akwa Ibom
Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.

By Abasifreke Effiong

The Akwa Ibom state government is proposing a – 30 year development plan that will address the needs of the state and push her dependence away from crude oil.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon.

Okon in an interview in Uyo said the state executive council at it meeting earlier this month mandated the Ministry of Economic Development to draw up a comprehensive development plan for the state.

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The commissioner said Akwa Ibom does not have a long -term development plan, that is why it is important to formulate one at this time for the state.

“Note that since the creation of the state we have not had a long-term development plan. What we have been working on has always been annual budget. We believe that it is time for Akwa Ibom state to begin to plan ahead and run her affairs bearing in mind that one day we should run an economy without having to depend on oil.”

Okon said the entire gamut of the economy of the state will be taken into consideration in the 30 years development plan.

Akwa Ibom proposes 30 years development plan, cuts overhead, capital expenditure in 2020 budget Mr. Akan Okon, Honourable Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport.

He disclosed that the eight points completion agenda of the Udom Emmanuel administration will form the foundation for the plan.

Priority areas in the development plan according to Okon will include, industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure development, social development and security, human capacity development.

“The eight points completion agenda of Governor Udom Emmanuel are the foundations and pillars which the development plan would be built on. The plan will address the entire gamut of the economy.”

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“The plan will have industrialisation. Under it, we will not look at just building industries, we will also look at policies that will ensure optimum utilisation of our scarce resources, and the aim in mind would be to generate employment and increase the quality and number of job groups in our environment.”

The commissioner said affordable healthcare, gender equality, improved access to credit facilities and peaceful environment will top considerations under social development and security, in the proposed plan.

“We have social development and security. This involves planning for the improvement in the quality of live of the people, affordable healthcare, housing, access to affordable water, promotion of gender equality, empowerment of women, improved access to credit facilities, and peaceful environment.”

“So, all what I’m taking about now are the pillars. By the time it is drilled down, the various non – oil sectors of the economy will be looked at in details bearing in mind where we want to be at a particular point in time and the things we need to do to take us there.”

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“We also have human capacity development as one of the pillars. Under that we have poverty alleviation and sustainable environment.”

To cushion the effect of the slump in crude oil price which has affected the nation and state’s economy, Okon disclosed that the state government will slash its 2020 budget to focus more on survival of the people, saying that the economic projections of the state for the 2020 fiscal year will not be attainable.

“The way it is now, our economic projections are not attainable. So there is need for a review of our 2020 budget. The federal government has reviewed its own budget and has gone back to the National Assembly for approval.”

“There are certain things that we must know, that is, when your revenue drops, the first thing to do is to concentrate on survival. So, we will suspend some capital projects.”

“We will see what needs to be done to ensure that overhead is reduced in order to operate within the resources available. We have to prioritize our activities because as I speak to you now, the number one thing is survival”, Okon said.