Governor Udom Emmanuel has revealed that his administration is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that investments that belong to Akwa Ibom people are not left to waste, but put into productive use.
Accordingly, he has promised to complete the 14-storey Ibom Hilton Hotel to complement the 4-star hotel in Ikot Ekpene, and all ongoing projects before leaving office in 2023.
The governor made this known while inaugurating the Tropicana Shopping Mall at the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Complex, Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo, on Thursday.
He assured that his administration remains committed to completing all projects initiated in the state for the benefit of Akwa Ibom people.
“I want to believe if not for the setback of COVID in 2020, by now our 4-star hotel in Ikot Ekpene would have been up and running. If you check, it is about 99% completed. The only thing remaining is for the management team to move in. We are reworking the agreement on that hotel and we will put everything in place to address all the challenges,” he said
The governor who disclosed that his government was currently in talks with investors on completing the proposed Ibom Tropicana hotel, said “our vision, mission and dream is to make sure that before we leave office in 2023, we would have turned that uncompleted building into a hotel to complement what we are doing in Ikot Ekpene because we are making Akwa Ibom State a tourist destination,” he assured.
Continuing, he said, “We are hoping within a short moment Marriot should move in and that place commissioned. I know that place will employ over a thousand of Akwa Ibom people not to talk of indirect labour”.
The Governor said once the international market in Eket is commissioned, it will also complement the state government’s investments in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
He thanked the host community for their cooperation with the investors and thanked the investors for giving a lot of space for indigenous retail trade. This, he said, will develop local businessmen and support his administration’s drive to create change.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of the Tropicana Mall, Engr. Olumide Akinsanya, who expressed happiness for the opportunity to invest in Akwa Ibom State, lauded Governor Emmanuel’s business mindedness in driving the state’s economy, especially in the provision of basic infrastructures and necessary government cooperation for the private sector to thrive, a policy he said, has helped the state through the harsh economic conditions occasioned by the 2020 COVID interruption.
According to him “We are happy to be here. We came here precisely August 22, 2015 to remodel the mall and the governor did the ground breaking on that day. We thought in one year we would be done but for no fault of Akwa Ibom State or ours, the economy went down, naira went from two hundred to about five hundred to a dollar and it became a huge challenge, but we saw the potentials of Akwa Ibom State and the private sector driven orientation of the governor which encouraged us greatly and I really must thank him because he has really made this happen. He was determined and every of the roles the government was supposed to play were done in record time”
The tourism guru scored the state high in ease of doing business and described the state as an investment destination. He assured Akwa Ibom people that the mall which, he said, had capacity for 600 employees, with over 300 people employed, will provide a world class shopping experience and a boost in local earnings and ideas of business presentations by creating an interface between national and local business people.