By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has reiterated his administration’s readiness to provide enabling business environment to drive investments by interested investors to the state
Consequently, Emmanuel advised host communities as primary beneficiaries of the government and private projects or industries sited in their domains, to protect them from vandals within and outside.
Governor Emmanuel stated this at the inauguration of the shipyard, owned by an indigene of the state, Mr Charles Udonwa, as well as the launch of a brand new security boat, MV Norfin Swift, built by the company in the state.
He said that the state government was ready to partner the Norfin Group, and lauded the investor, Mr Udonwa, a Singaporean based ship builder for his decision to site the shipyard in the state, noting that the gesture was worthy of emulation.
“Today marks a seed harvest in the entire Gulf of Guinea and we don’t take this for granted. But it is worthy of emulation. I hope the host community will behave well.
“My brother Charles I share your pains in the last attack. Whatever we are going to do as a state government to ameliorate that pain, we will do.
“Locating this facility here is for the benefit of the entire country.
Also speaking, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, represented by the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jerry Abba, equally gave assurance of the readiness of the federal government to partner the company.
In his welcome address, the chairman of the company, Mr. Udonwa, appreciated the state government for creating an investment-friendly climate in the state, saying his company’s presence in the state would help Akwa Ibom become a major player in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He pointed out the successes of few Nigerians in providing maritime assets to support the Nigerian oil and gas industry has been partly driven by Norfin Offshore.
“We have encouraged and provided up to 35 vehicles to our Nigerian partners from 2010 up till date, which tremendously increased our participation in the value chain of crude oil exploration, drilling and production.
“In all these, Akwa Ibom citizens have been the least involved in the provision of maritime assets to support oil and gas services in Nigeria. Norfin Offshore is definitely changing that narrative.
“For Ship Owners Association of Nigeria and potential ship owners in Nigeria and West Africa, it is important to note that your purchase of a 40-metre crew cum security vessle built in Asia Pacific or Europe or South Africa for USD 4.5 million and with transportation cost, custom and terminal charges of USD 2 million, we can build the same vessel with improved machineries for you at USD 3.8 million, thus cost saving of USD 2.7. million.
He listed immediate challenges faced by the company to include, continuous attacks by militants and cult group in the locality; warring villages thus making it difficult to agree and have MoU; and lack of electricity supply to the area from which the company can connect and access power.
In their goodwill messages, the Chief of the Naval Staff, represented by the Commander, Nigeria Navy, NNS, Jubilee, Ikot Abasi, Commodore Majid Ibrahim, Leader, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Sir. Udo Kierian Akpan, and the President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Dr. Eke George described the investment as historic.