• Budgets N5b for 675 medium density units

The Akwa Ibom State government has established partnership with British African Business Alliance Limited and PJ-IC International, toward the provision of affordable housing schemes for civil servants in the state.

The government has also moved to enhance the fortune of farmers through establishment of processing lines as off-takers of farm produce.

Speaking at a meeting with the investors at government house, Uyo, the state governor, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, said his administration would continue to partner foreign investors to explore opportunities and business-friendly atmosphere in the state.

The governor assured investors of the government’s readiness to partner with the firms for speedy delivery of the housing scheme. He emphasised the imperative of keeping the cost of housing within the affordable limits for civil servants to ensure that beneficiaries were not 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 lamented the situation in which farmers are compelled to sell off their harvest at low prices due to the perishable nature of farm produce. The governor, therefore, expressed readiness to partner with PJ-IC International for a farm produce processing line.

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

The Chief Executive Officer, British African Business Alliance Limited, David Smith, said the visit is a follow up to the discussion with Governor Emmanuel on harnessing the abundant gas deposits in the state to generate electricity.

While pledging support for capacity development through vocational education and provision of low-cost housing by the company, he disclosed that the firm was willing to bring in a ready-made Gas Plant into the state.

Smith observed that the investment-friendly atmosphere in the state has attracted other partners with specialty in waste recycling, and power generation.