The Akwa Ibom Automobile Vehicle Assembling Plant in Itu Local Government is 99% completed, the Akwa Ibom State Government has declared. Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, who stated this while briefing the media as part of his annual End of the Year media Interactive Session said, contrary to what some segment of the public may think, the plant is ready and would be commissioned on schedule as all the components needed for the smooth take-off of the plant is ready.
According to the Commissioner, Governor Udom Emmanuel remains passionately committed to completing and commissioning the plant on schedule and will leave no stone unturned towards the realization of these set objectives aimed at creating jobs and tackling unemployment in the State.
He regretted that majority of the public confuse a vehicle assembling plant with a vehicle manufacturing plant, stating that both are not the same.
“Everything to enable the automobile assembling plant to carry out assembling of vehicles is ready. Note that there is a big difference between a vehicle assembling plant and a vehicle manufacturing plant.
“They are not the same. The assembling plant will receive completely knocked down components and couple them and for the Semi Knocked Down Components, SKD’s, you don’t need any other equipment than all the cranes that are on the ground. When these components arrive from Israel, all the plant will do is fix them. All that we are waiting for is for the CKD’s and SKD’s to come from Israel”, he explained.
According to Hon Okon, many people mistake it for a car manufacturing plant and were expecting to see a lot of robots in motion, noting that such components only apply to a vehicle manufacturing plant but for an assembling plant, almost half of the job has been done in Israel as what is coming to Itu in Akwa Ibom State are just components that are to be assembled so that it becomes a vehicle.
He assured the state that the administration’s earlier plans to send the first batch of trainees to Israel to understudy and learn how to assemble vehicles so as to come back and become pioneer staff who will train other artisans are still on course, blaming the delay in departure of the would-be trainees on the total lockdown that happened in Israel due to the surge in COVID-19 infections.
On Ibom Air, the Commissioner observed that the airline is today Nigeria’s airline of choice due to its high level of professionalism, noting that Akwa Ibom’s future and success in all aspects of its economic life is dependent on doing the right thing consistently to achieve results using International best practices.
He debunked insinuations that Ibom Air is exorbitant, stating that Ibom Air remains the cheapest and most reliable Airline in Nigeria, compared to what is obtainable in Europe or in America.
“Even in Canada or the USA, a one hour flight is not less than $200 for an economy ticket but Ibom Air is just #50,000 for an economy ticket which is not even up to $100 but like the CR Jet that Ibom is using that is manufactured in Montreal, Canada, when they are taken for maintenance, it is the same MRO charge other airlines are paying that Ibom Air will pay, the same jet fuel they are using that Ibom Air is using but yet when we’re back from maintenance, we are charging less than what is applicable in Europe and you can’t compare a plane that is just 4-9 years old to others that are 20-30 years old”, he stated.
He explained that Ibom Air is a business venture and must be managed as such which explains why no government official, can fly Ibom Air without paying for his or her ticket.
“Ibom Air is the cheapest. How much do you pay for a one hour flight in the US? How much do you pay for a one hour flight in Canada bearing in mind that when it is time for maintenance of the aircraft, the same place that Ibom Air will be maintained, is the same place other airlines will be taken to and they all pay in dollars?
“Ibom Air is offering world-class services that is why it is the airline of choice of an average Nigerian air traveller”, he noted.
He reiterated the commitment and determination of the Udom Emmanuel led administration to see to the realization of the Ibom Deep Seaport, stating that the seaport when completed will not only be the game-changer for Akwa Ibom but will create an industrial revolution that is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
“Lagos is what it is because of the two ports it has, Apapa and Tin Can Ports. Ibom Deep Seaport will create a similar impact when operational”, he submitted