The World Bank Group has pledged to partner with the Akwa Ibom State Government to attract investments and provide development assistance to the state.
The group comprises International Finance Corporations (IFC) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) sponsors development projects of member countries and provides grants to the private and public sectors as dictated by the country’s strategic development interest..
Rachid Benmessaud, the country director of the group who gave the pledge when he visited Governor Udom Emmanuel in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital said the group would work with the state government to scale up development in the state.
“I’ve seen your vision to make the state attractive for private sector investment and I am here to let you know that World Bank supports both the public and private sector in their investment drive and we would very much like to work with you in trying to scale up development, Benmessaud stated.
According to him, the World Bank’s presence in the state would build a stronger partnership in the State’s development programmes and assured the Governor of assistance in the development of the state in line with the organisation’s strategy of engagement principles.
He thanked the Governor for the privilege granted the WBG to enlighten the leadership of the state on the focus of the team and opportunities available to the state, explaining that there are still possibilities of a strong partnership between Akwa Ibom and the WBG.
He stated that the respective projects and programmes executed by different organs of the WBG, projects are usually done in consonance with the visions of the Federal and State Governments, explaining that the WBG has, in the last ten years, undertaken a review of functioning and non functioning projects in Nigeria.
Earlier, governor Udom Emmanuel disclosed that a three million capacity syringe manufacturing factory would commence operations in the state in May this year.
According to the governor, Nigeria with over 170 million people consumes about 6 billion syringes imported from foreign countries and the next largest producer of syringe is South Africa but Nigeria has no single Syringe Manufacturing Plant adding that this explains why the state government is establishing the plant in the state.
He described the World Bank as a dependable development partner and solicited its partnership in the execution of development programmes in the area of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, Agriculture, Health Care, Women Empowerment and Environmental Degradation.
He assured that the state will meet its obligations in the area of counterpart funding of projects and enthused “in the area of counterpart funding, we would meet our obligations whenever we are called upon. This is one state that would make good use of the funds earmarked for projects… so if we partner we would create something that the whole of Africa will emulate ”
Governor Emmanuel said that the state is blessed with resources that could readily be harnessed to generate employment, create wealth as well as sustain the economy and mentioned the Coconut oil Refinery Project as one project that would fast- track economic growth given the international market price of the commodity.
“This is one area I would like you to make a mark because in the whole of Africa we are yet to to have a Coconut Oil Refinery. As I speak off takers from Malaysia and other parts of the world have indicated interest to patronise the commodity because of it profitability ”
The governor used the opportunity to showcase the investment opportunities available in the state and urged the Organisation to explore ways of boosting the state economy, assist in addressing it ecological challenges and explore new grounds in the production of Ethanol to meet the ever increasing demand by beverage and cosmetic industries stressing that his administration adopts international best practices in all it dealings and sued for equity in the financing of the investments.