By Hamid Adedeji
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State is harnessing the maritime potentials in the state to boost the state’s economy.
The Akwa Ibom State Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan, who stated this in a statement, added that when all the state’s investments in maritime fully take off; Akwa Ibom will take the centre stage in global maritime economy.
According to the statement, the head of the state’s civil service stated this when the Zonal Vice President of the Maritime Workers Union, Ekong Atai, led other members of the team on a visit to her office recently.
The head of civil service listed such investments in the maritime sector to include the Ibaka Deep Seaport project, Ibom Industrial City, Liberty Free Trade Zone, landing jetties and other maritime transport facilities.
She called on the people of the Akwa Ibom to key into this vision by investing and developing the needed manpower to enable them to benefit from this lucrative sector.
She thanked the zonal maritime workers for their on-going advocacy for the sponsorship of manpower training of Akwa Ibom youths in the relevant skills to strategically equip and position them to benefit optimally from the empowerment opportunities in the maritime sector.
She also encouraged Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs to take advantage of the strategic location of the state within the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and key into the investment opportunities this proximity offers.
The head of civil service described the dearth of skilled and certificated maritime workers in the state and assured that their proposal for the training of 250 Akwa Ibom youths on basic seafaring and retraining of experienced hands on higher skills to enable them acquire the status of able seamen (AB), officers on board, master mariners, chief engineers as well as captains of vessels would be forwarded to appropriate quarters for necessary action. She thanked them for the visit and wished them well in their various endeavours.
Earlier, Atai, had informed the head of civil service that the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria is an industrial union that caters for the welfare of the employees in the maritime sector. Atai stated that the union encourages high level of productivity and efficiency among its 6,000 members in the maritime industry.
Atai lamented the shortage of skilled manpower in the state to compete for the available employment opportunities and solicited the inclusion of training of youths in maritime-related skills in the empowerment programme of the state as well as the provision of safety kits and fishing accessories to indigenous artisans and water transport operators to enhance their productivity and give them a sense of belonging. The zonal vice president also requested for an office accommodation for the union.
He used the forum to commend the achievements of the Governor Udom-led administration in the areas of industrialisation, infrastructural development and labour-friendly dispo-sition. He thanked the head of civil service and pledged the union’s support and cooperation to the present administration.