By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government spends three million Naira yearly to International Association of Science Park for renewal of License of the Ibom Science Park project despite it being an abandoned project in the state
The State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Iniobong Essien disclosed this when he defended the 2020 Budget Appropriations of his Ministry before the State House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriations on Tuesday.
Akwa Ibom State Government secured the license to establish the Ibom Science Park in Uyo, the state capital during the erstwhile administration of Governor Victor Attah.
This License, Mr. Essien stated, was registered with the International Association of Science Park, making the state a member of the body
Science and Technology Commissioner told the House Committee on Finance and Appropriations that although Ibom Science Park has been in the state of un-completion over the years, the state government cannot avoid paying for its License renewal fees of three million naira annually to International Association Science Park.
He disclosed also that for about 10 years running, the state government has not been able to renew the License, thus making the state indebted to the Association to the tune of about thirty million Naira (N30 million), being accommodated fees for the renewal of the License.
Mr. Essien told the Committee that the Ministry in 2019 had projected revenue generation of N30 million but was able to generate about 5.52 million within the year, thus making it difficult for it to settle the debts.
He called on the House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation to approve an upward review of the Ministry of Science and Technology budget to make provisions for the renewal of the License fees currently standing against the state.
Responding, the Chairman of House Committee on Finance and Appropriations, Mr. Uduak Ududoh assured the Commissioner that his Committee would look into the request.
It would be recalled that Ibom Science Park project was one of the signature projects of former Governor, Obong Victor Attah who initiated the project but the project was abandoned midway soon after by the succeeding administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Viewing the enormous benefits the project to Scientific and Technological drive of the state, the people of the state have in many forums called on the present government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel to revisit the completion of the project.
Completing the project, they added, would enable Akwa Ibom state to reap the benefits of the project which huge amount of money had already been sung into, including the acquisition of License.
Governor Emmanuel during the recent press interaction had announced the state government plan to set up a committee to look in the contracts and process of the Park in line current innovations in science and technology globally with the view to completing it.