By Mfonobong Ukpong
Inline with the resolve of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to ensure that the Anchor borrowers programme is beneficial to the people of the state, the legislature will soon engage relevant stakeholders with a view of seeking ways that would enable Akwa Ibom people benefit from the funds warehoused in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN for agricultural purpose.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke dropped the hint, Monday when he played host to a delegation from Akwa Oil Palm Co-operative Association, also known as, Akwa Oil Ltd.
He informed that the Chairman of the ad-hoc Investigating Committee on the Anchor Poultry Borrowers Scheme had formally notified him last week that the committee’s report was ready. He said the report will soon be laid on the floor of the House for further legislative action.
“We will seek for ways and avenue to make this Anchor Borrowers Programme beneficial to the people. It will be by way of stakeholders engagement to see how we can get our people to benefit from funds warehoused by CBN.
The outcome of the engagement will be forwarded to Governor Udom Emmanuel. He has a passion for the diversification of our economy especially in the area of oil Palm plantation and processing, cassava cultivation and rice production.
It is our place as public officials to manage the expectations of the people who gave us their mandate. It is the place of government to create enabling environment for the people to do business”.
The Speaker saluted the initiative by the co-operative group to venture into oil Palm plantation and oil processing, saying the value chain derivable from the investment is enormous.
He expressed worry that despite the fact that the state was leading in oil Palm cultivation, yet it is not ranked as the highest producer of Palm oil in the country. He however identified lack of facility as reason for the ugly development, saying if there were functional oil depots, such facility would help the rural women who are already in the business. He assured of the readiness of the legislature to support the group to meet it’s aim and objectives.
Earlier, the President of the group, Pastor Philip Sunrise, said Akwa Oil Palm plantation and processing, hinting that the company is collaborating with communities through their Village heads for the acquisition of land for oil Palm plantation.
He told the Speaker that so far over 6000 hectares of land have been acquired through what he referred as PPP(partnership) cluster farming arrangement.
He solicited the support of the House of Assembly to enable the group forge ahead in its drive to create wealth for the state through oil Palm business.
Pastor Philip said Akwa Oil controls over 5000 farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, and urged the House of Assembly to come to their aid.
In attendance at the courtesy visit were, a member of the board of directors, and member representing Ikot-Ekpene /Obot Akara, Hon. Idongesit Ntekpere, Essien Udim representative and Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Nse Ntuen, and Ukanafun representative , Hon. Otobong Jonathan Akpan.
Shareholders of the company who accompanied the President on the courtesy visit include, the Secretary General, Dr. Innocent Idiong, who is a former Council Chairman in Abak, Chairman, Board of Trustees, and Founder, Obong University, Prof. Moses Akpanudo, Secretatry, Obong Felix Nyong, and the Paramount Ruler, Ibiono Ibom, Okuku Dr. Ime Udo Usoro Inyang who is a member of the board of trustee.
Others are, the Paramount Ruler of Oron, HRM, Odiong Edet Akan, Clan Head of Awa Afaha in ONNA, Etebom Raymond Inyang, Clan Head of Odoro Ikot in Essien Udim, Ettebom John Umoren, President, Conference of Village Heads, Ette Idung Monday Itiat Udo Eka Ebe, who is also a Village head in Obot Akara, and Mr. Enefiok Udo who is the MD,Enebros Motors Ltd, also a member of the board of directors in Akwa Oil.