By Harris Emanuel- Uyo
Akwa Ibom State government has allayed fears about its ability to successfully manage an airline following the floating of Ibom Air.
Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deepsea Port, who stated this, said it was economically viable for the state government to set up the airline, adding that with new aircraft being added to its fleet, the airline coupled with its excellent customer services is bound to break even.
He said, “The aircraft in its fleet are quite new, perhaps the youngest fleet in the industry for now with all the latest technology. With the business structure, the airline would come to be a success story.
Yes, people may say that it is not the business of government to be engaged in certain businesses but in such circumstances, the government can lead the way. The airline has become the first choice among air travelers in the country.”
Okon who also spoke on other sundry issues, explained the efforts by the government to address the challenge of unemployment among youths in the state, as evident in the establishment of manufacturing companies and firms in partnership with the private sector.
His words, “Unemployment is a major problem in the country because we are a consuming economy, we are not manufacturing. But under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel, prior to coming to office, we did not have many companies here. In the last five years, many firms and companies have been set up. These companies are offering employment to Akwa Ibom people.”
Okon listed some of the factories to include the syringe manufacturing firm, metering solution firm, plastic manufacturing company, and the coconut refinery company among others.
According to him, Governor Udom Emmanuel apart from establishing the industries has created an enabling environment for the growth of the private sector in the state.
Besides, he said that many youths would be gainfully engaged when the deep seaport comes on stream, adding that cogent steps have been taken in partnership with the federal government to ensure the actualization of the project.
“The Deep Seaport will provide enormous employment opportunities for our youths. The port comes with an industrial city with heavy industries involved in export activities. This will add to the employment opportunities that will be available to our people”, he said
He added, “Things are gradually picking up. The port is in phases but I am very certain that at the rate we are going now, before the end of the present administration, we should have achieved a lot.”