AKAN OKON LAUDS GOV UDOM ON 21-STOREY PROJECT
……… Assures of completion in 18months
Mr. Akan Okon, the Commissioner For Housing and Special Duties, has described Governor Udom Emmanuel as a visionary and purpose driven leader for his initiation of the 21-storey project. He gave the indication recently when he led the House Committee on lands, Housing and Urban Renewal on an inspection tour of ongoing construction work at the project site located at Banking Layout Udo Udoma.
The team was received at the site and taken on tour by the Project Manager, Mr. Senol. Speaking, he said the Soil Tests, Quality Control and Health, Safety and Environmental aspects of the project had been successfully carried out stating that foundation/piling work was ongoing at the moment. He gave the assurance that the project would be completed in 18months.
The Housing Boss said the facility which occupies a land mass of 50,000 Square Meters was born out of necessity by His Excellency the Governor as a response to excuses by Corporate and Multinational companies that there was no befitting facility to accommodate them in the State hence their inability to operate in the State. He said the project upon completed will be of immense economic value to the State as the companies residing there would employ Akwa Ibomites and pay taxes to the government thereby boasting Internally Generated Revenue.
The siting of the project Mr. Okon stated had significantly affected its environment positively as indigenes of the area have been offered employment opportunities by the ongoing project. As a result of the project he said, Capital appreciation for properties around the site had gone up and the narrative of the environment changed. Furthermore, he stated that for development to come into an area, projects of this nature needed to be brought in. He maintained that the project was well thought out by Governor Udom Emmanuel who believes strongly in the development and emancipation of the State. He lauded him for his vision and drive describing him as a passionate leader committed to turning around the fortunes of the State.
The project according to him was meeting milestones and as such he was satisfied with the pace and extent of work done so far. Sufficient materials he said were on site to ensure the project goes on successfully as planned. Responding to questions on maintenance, Mr. Okon stated that though the materials to be used required low maintenance, the contractors had made adequate arrangement to train indigenous Engineers to handle maintenance at the expiration of the contractors stay in the State.
Addressing the issue of work force and remunerations, the Commissioner disclosed that his ministry had created a right mix of expatriate personnel and indigenes and also ensured that remuneration packages for indigenes were juicy hence no complains so far. When quizzed on his Ministry’s plans to carter for the influx of human traffic into the State due to the project, The Commissioner said plans where in place to set up a housing scheme along the airport road to provide accommodation for workers and visitors. Furthermore he said, proposals have been received by other companies to erect towers within the State.
Of major concern to the Committee was the issue of safety and security to which the Commissioner responded that Government was committed to improving on the security network and architecture of the State to ensure peace is maintained. “No society is crime free but given the efforts of the State Government that has earned us the tag of most peaceful state in the Country, we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the safety of lives and property”, he said.
Chairman of the House Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Renewal and Member representing Ukanafun, Hon. Otobong Akpan thanked the Governor for his giant vision for the State and VKS Construction Nig. for their integrity. He said as a committee, they were impressed with the work done so far as this was a major project with loads of benefits which will bring massive development to the State. He urged the contractors to relay challenges at work to the committee if any arises maintaining that the committee would enter into further discussions with them and the Ministry.
The Housing and Special Duties Boss was accompanied on tour by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Engr. Effiong Efiakedoho. Other Members of the House Committee present were Hon. Sampson Dennis, Member representing Etinan, Hon. Otobong Ndem, member representing Mkpat Enin, Hon. Samuel Ufuo, member representing Mbo, Hon. Uduak Odudoh, member representing Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly