A’Ibom Govt To Strengthen SMEs
The Akwa Ibom government has restated its commitment to strengthening the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) sector to complement the gains of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and boost the local economy.
The commissioner for trade and investment, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, stated this at the ongoing second quarter of the 2019 Budget Implementation Appraisal by the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly (AKHA) Committee on Finance and Appropriations for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) at the conference room of the Assembly Complex, Uyo, recently.
Akpabio, while presenting the ministry’s budget performance, maintained that a strong SME sector leads to a viable and stable economy, adding that the proposal of the ministry would develop the SMEs sector which would also improve the internally generated revenue of the state.
He lamented the challenges faced by the ministry in enforcing revenue generation and the activities of smugglers, appealing to the committee to assist in appropriating funds for the ministry to checkmate them.
Akpabio said the major focus of the ministry in the Completion Agenda was to attract more investments and aid the development of SMEs.
The commissioner announced plans by the ministry to remodel the industrial estate in Itam to cater for the massive manufacturing investments.
In a related development, the commissioner for lands and water resources, Mr Ime Ekpo, has said the state government was concluding plans to automate the entire land mapping of the state.
Ekpo, an architect, added that the ministry was working on proposals which has been presented and that the exercise would be carried out as soon as the dry season sets in, noting that the ministry, within the period under review, has paid compensation for the site for coconut refinery in Mkpat Enin Local Government.
The commissioner announced that they have also opened up some urban roads and also make preparations for site plan for the Liberty Free Trade Zone in six local government areas of the state.
Other MDAs who made presentations to the committee were the Office of the Surveyor- General led by Mrs Emem Isang who said the state could benefit maximally if more people saw the need to get official documents for their properties by getting them surveyed, and the Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) led by the accountant, Mr Bassey Godwin.
The chairman of the committee and member for Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo State Constituency, Mr Uduak Ududoh, noted that the essence of the exercise was to give the house insight to the progress of the MDAs and also to help the House make informed decisions during the budgeting process.
He urged the MDAs to streamline their budget and prioritize their activities in ensuring the completion of all ongoing projects in their domain ahead of time.
The committee chairman added that the initiation of new projects were laudable as it was imperative in ensuring that the spate of abandoned projects in the state was reduced, charging the ministries to consider the sustainability of their initiatives when budgeting for 2020.
The lawmaker warned that MDAs who absent themselves from the appraisal without genuine excuses would be severely sanctioned.