Okon Bassey in Uyo
Military shoes are among fashioning shoes now to be produced in Akwa Ibom State as one of the Local Government councils in the State, Mkpat Enin has set up Shoes manufacturing company with emphasis on producing the Military shoes among others to further boost industrialisation drives of the state government.
The Chairman of the Council, Hon. Ekanem Brown revealed that the shoe factory which has started production will in addition to producing the military shoes produces durable and high quality shoes including safety boots, dressing shoes, leather slippers and sandals, school shoes (cutina) and canvas, saying it is designed to be one of the best in Africa.
The Chairman boss disclosed this in Uyo while briefing Journalists on the activities of his council, indicating that 157 hectares of land had also been acquired for integrated farming programme of the council.
He said, already council is currently cultivating tomato, maize cucumber, which is soon expected to turn in N12m to the council’s treasury after cultivation.
Still speaking on his achievement within 100 days in Office, the Council boss stressed that besides completing and reequipping the abandoned shoe factory in the area, he has refurbished a 165 KVA and a 40KKVA generating plants, invested in primary healthcare and grading of rural roads across the area.
According to him, he has also been able to reconnect the council area and the neighboring communities to public power supply, which had not functioned for the past six years; repair and reinstalled three boreholes within the Council secretariat and established Ibom Innovative and Technology Academy, with NBTE working on accreditation.
To further boost agricultural development of the area, he said 10,000 suckers of plantain are being planted, explaining that on maturity, the plantain plantation will attract to the area four factories that will be involved in the processing of the plantain meals.
â€œAlready I have sent a bill to the legislature that will enable the council protect and sustain these investments. This is strategic because I know the benefits that will accrue to the council if this is done.
â€œI came from the private sector and have been involved in agric projects and so I am well-schooled and have prior knowledge of such things. I am also doing this because the new injection power station being built by the state government will soon be completed and that is what these small scale industries will largely need to survive and of course in addition to market.
â€œOur shoe manufacturing plant has the best machines in the Niger Delta and the plantain plantation will of course result in the establishment of four manufacturing plants that will make use of the different parts of the plantain.
â€œThe outer part of the plantain stem will be utilized by a manufacturing plant for the production of POP for house ceilings, the fluid from the stem will be used by another plant for industrial products and yet another plant will use the inner part of the stem for the production of carton while of course the plantain itself will be processed into many uses,â€ the Chairman explained.
The local government chairman who said the council has adopted â€œstrategic partnershipâ€ in reaching out to investors, said off takers were already available for the cucumber crops being harvested from the farm, while more than 30 youths have been employed in the farm.
â€œI need to grow the local economy and we expect to rake in N7 million monthly from the seven hectare of farmland used for the cultivation of cucumber and other crops,â€™â€™ he said
He maintained that the agricultural programme has the capacity to produce food for the entire state and beyond while the shoe factory could feed the canvass /sandals/covered shoe needs of the state as well as in the south.
He commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for creating â€œan enabling environmentâ€ which according to him has facilitated the establishment of the shoe factory and the integrated farms in the local government area, adding that discussions were ongoing with the Bank of Industry (BoI) to support the food processing programme.
Brown appealed to investors to partner with the local government for the expansion of the agricultural programmes to boost food production, create wealth and employment opportunities for youths in the area.
He applaud State Governor for the developmental projects sited in the area, some of which he listed to include; the coconut plantation and refinery, the Ekim Power Station, construction of roads, upgrading of facilities in Akwa Ibom State University and appointment of Mkpat Enin Indigenes into positions in his administration.
Blessed with arable soil and favourable weather condition, Brown described Mkpat Enin local government area as one of the major food baskets of Akwa Ibom State stressing that the area is being position to be a regional market in the country.