By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
THE Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Akwa Ibom State Mr. Ukpong Akpabio has lamented the lack of patronage of products and goods manufactured in the state by the citizens.
Akpabio decried a situation where Akwa Ibom citizens would prefer to go to neighbouring States such as Aba in Abia state, and Cross River State to buy Flour and plastic products whereas those items are now being manufactured in the state.
Akpabio who spoke Thursday in Uyo while fielding questions from newsmen on the ongoing expansion of the ‘Dakkada Cottage Industries’ which comprises the toothpick, the pencil and plastic factories, said government has decided to launch an initiative during the 2020 State’s anniversary that would help encourage the people to start patronizing their own things.
He explained that low patronage contributes largely to the non-survival of businesses in the state especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) over the years
His words, “The major problem we have as a state is lack of patronage of Akwa Ibom made goods and products. For instance, the Kings Flour Igbo people are the major distributors. And when some of our people go to Aba in Abia state to buy Flour, Aba people will tell them to go back to their State because their own Flour is of high quality.
“Akwa Ibom people don’t patronize our own goods and products. And we discovered when we engaged with our small entrepreneurs that lack of patronage by our people is their major problem. Lack of patronage of locally manufactured goods does not help businesses to survive.
“We need to change that mentality of not valuing our own thing. So in the next two months during this year’s anniversary of the state, we are going to launch an initiative that will encourage to see the need to start to patronize Akwa Ibom made goods and products”
Akpabio said that he was particularly delighted that the Governor Udom Emmanuel’s led administration focuses on encouraging Akwa Ibom people to be investment-minded rather than always waiting to receive a handout from government as witnessed in the last administrations.
He, therefore, faulted the recent plan by the Federal government to pay twenty thousand naira (N20,000) each to 1000 persons in every local government area across the country to carry out public work programme, saying such initiative encourages laziness among Nigerian youths.
“In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a great lesson, and that is why I am strongly against the planned handout of twenty thousand naira each to 1000 people per local government by the Federal government.
“The Federal government will be encouraging our young people to become Lazy. It is wrong and that was what we did in the state in the last administration and that did not help”, he asserted.