A Singapore- based investment organisation, Ashdene Associates Nigeria, has signed an agreement with the Akwa Ibom State Government on agricultural development, infrastructural expansion and consolidation worth about $100 million investment.
At the signing of the memoranda of understanding (MoU) at the governor’s office, Uyo, the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel said his administration was committed to laying a formidable economic foundation to fast-tract all round development of the state.
He explained that the Ashdene Group reputed to have successfully executed business in about twenty-nine countries of the world decided to partner the state in it agricultural, infrastructural and industrialisation drive. The Governor was excited for the Ashdene Group to make Akwa Ibom State its destination of their investment and to collaborate with the state in the area of investment in addition to infrastructural consolidation and expansion .
Emmanuel lauded the decision of the company to set up a rice farm alongside a processing mill at Ini Local Government Area of the state, establishment of coconut plantation and construction of roads in communities where they would carry out the investment.
He spoke of his administration’s disposition towards investment and assured the investors of a conducive business environment for their venture.
“I want to assure you that this is a government that is investors friendly, our policies, strategies, focus centre on investments. Be rest assured that the responsibilities of government in the agreement signed would be duly executed. “We are not ignorant of the environment that you need for investment like this to grow and we are determined to create the right opportunity for your investment to thrive”, declared.
The Country Director of Ashdene Associates Nigeria, Dr Patrick Adiel had said that the company which is faith based none profit organisation is in the state to explore the abundant agricultural resources to help create wealth and open up employment opportunities that would engage the people meaningfully.
He said seven days after the agreement has been signed, the company will swing into action for the rice project covering ten hectares of land in which about one hundred million Dollars would be invested.
Areas for the investment, he identified as the Coconut Plantation and Refinery project as well as road construction which they have undertaken in partnership with the state government as part of their corporate social responsibility. Adiel acknowledged the hospitality enjoyed from both the government and people of the state and praised the state Government for partnering the organisation in it development programmes. He assured that every project earmarked for execution would be completed within fourteen months.
The Commissioner for Special Duties, Etido Inyang, his counterpart in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dr. Mathew Ekaette and Chairman Committee on Foreign Direct Investment, Dr. Gabriel Ukpe signed the agreement on behalf of the state government.
Remarking, they commended the Governor for scouting for investors in various aspect of the economy saying that the state shall witness a manifestation of the industrialisation programme with the youths gainfully employed even as farmers would realise better returns from their investment.
Ekaette said that rice farming which has been at a subsistent level would witnessed a leap with the firm approaching cultivation with the right technological inputs. He expressed optimism that the revenue profile of the state would increase as the state would soon join the league of exporters of agricultural products.
The Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem in an interview after the exercise said the state has started reaping from the investment drive of the present administration and that farmers would soon smile to the bank as value has been added to their occupation.