Okon Bassey in Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has given reasons for the delays on the multi-million naira Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) unit of the Ibom International Airport after 15 years of its conception
Speaking while receiving a report on the assessment of the MRO project from the former governor of the state who initiated the project, Obong Victor Attah in his office, Governor Emmanuel said the delay was as a result of the need to commit an operator to the facility.
“We want that assurance that at least the regional flight here, all those aircraft, will be maintained here because this is one asset that activity must bring revenue and revenue is what will bring sustenance and return of whatsoever investment that we are making.” he stated.
The governor said the Chief of Air Staff had given his words to partner with the state for air force planes to be maintained in the state once the facility is completed and put to use.
“We have reassessed what is there; we have conducted what I could call, an expert opinion on the stage of completion on that and also what we need to do.
“We brought in our international valuation expert too who did the valuation because we are in talks with so many partners, we’ve also visited a whole lot of aviation maintenance cooperate bodies across the globe”, the governor added.
The state government, he said, was ready to collaborate with the proposed national carrier, promising to give concession on the 70 per cent completed MRO, to whoever is ready to accept the offer.
“We are willing as a state to give a whole lot of concession to whoever will come in, in terms of equity, sharing, and we can also forgo our goodwill because of probably what we’ve invested on this project so far.”
Promising to study the report, he said his government was bent on investing in projects capable of ensuring return on investments, unlike monuments that are not worth being called a project.
He described Attah as a man of vision who has maintained a strong passion for the development of Akwa Ibom State.
He commended him for the in-depth and comprehensive report, and reassured that his administration since its advent in 2015, has not relented in bringing the vision to fruition.
“That is one thing about vision. Anybody who carries the vision, the vision does not die, no matter what you do especially as far as the carrier of that vision is still there.”
Earlier, Obong Attah had noted that the MRO apart from its initial concept will further be encouraged to start manufacturing of air planes parts with the intent to go into manufacturing for the long term, citing Ethiopia and Brazil.