The Federal Government is to assist a private shipbuilding firm, Norfin Offshore Shipyard, to thrive.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the pledge on Saturday in Ikot Ukpong, Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, while inaugurating the firm’s shipyard.
Mustapha, represented by the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Abba, spoke of the readiness of the Federal Government to partner the firm and “provide for as much as it requires to succeed’’.
In his remarks, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom said his administration was out to attract more private investments and provide conducive environment for investors.
He pointed out that the establishment of the shipyard was a “historic endorsement of the industrialisation agenda of his administration’’.
The governor urged Akwa Ibom people to take advantage of the vast opportunities in the nation’s maritime and oil and gas industry.
He said that the state government was also ready to partner the Norfin group.
He lauded the investor, Mr Charles Udonwa, a Singaporean-based shipbuilder, for his decision to site the shipyard in Akwa Ibom.
Emmanuel said Udonwa’s gesture was worthy of emulation.
He condemned the January 19 attack on the shipyard by suspected militants.
The governor enjoined he host community to see the investment as their asset that must be protected.
He, however, said that the shipyard would benefit the entire country, irrespective of its location.
“Today marks a seed harvest in the entire Gulf of Guinea and we don’t take this for granted. It is worthy of emulation. I hope the host community will behave well.
“My brother Charles (Udonwa) 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,” the governor said.
In his remarks, Mr Prince Akpabio, Commissioner for Trade and Investment, said Emmanuel’s administration was geared towards building industries that would contribute high percentage to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Akpabio also said the shipyard would create job opportunities for Akwa Ibom youths.
The President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Dr. Eke George, described the investment as “historic’’.
He praised Gov. Emmanuel for creating an investment friendly environment in the state.
The Chairman Of Norfin Group, Mr Charles Udonwa, expressed appreciation to the state government for creating an investment friendly climate in the state.
Udonwa said that his firm’s presence would help Akwa Ibom to become a major player in the nation’s oil and gas industry. (NAN)