By Chioma Onuegbu
Akwa Ibom State Government has said that the actual commencement of reconstruction work on Ibom Blue Sea Science and Technology Park project had been delayed following the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease.
The state Commissioner for Science and Technology, in charge of supervising the project, Dr. Iniobong Essien made the disclosure in a statement, on Wednesday, in Uyo.
Essien said government was committed to the project, adding that it was only logical to put the project on hold while waiting for a medical breakthrough that would ameliorate the present spread of the diseases.
He said: “It will be recalled that on December 19, 2019, Governor Udom Emmanuel at a grand ceremony flagged off the reconstruction of Ibom Science Park, renamed lbom Bluesea Science and Technology Park.
“The lbom Blue sea Science and Technology Park is designed to be a scientific and technological incubation hub in the state, the nation and beyond and will offer meaningful engagements and employment to our teeming youths, who desire a veritable platform to exhibit their creativity.
“However, on behalf of the state government , I hereby bring to the attention of the good people of Akwa Ibom State and the general public that the actual commencement of work on the project has been delayed following the recent outbreak of a global epidemic known as Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in Wuhan, Hubei province of China late last year.
“It is worthy to note that the project is to be executed under a Public-Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement between the state government and the Blue Sea International Holdings Limited of China.
“The core personnel to drive the project, who went for new year vacation with the work plan to return to the state by second week of February this year to start work on the site in earnest, could not return as they were caught in the web of travel restrictions placed on China and her people around the globe occasioned by the global epidemic, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Consequently, it only logically follows that due to this unexpected development, work on the project had to be put on hold while waiting for a medical breakthrough that will ameliorate the present spread of the viral infection and turn things around soon.”