The Akwa Ibom State Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekerebong Akpan says Governor Udom is harnessing the maritime potentials endemic to the state to boosts the state’s economy. She says when all the states investment in maritime fully takes off, Akwa Ibom State will take the centre stage in global maritime economy.
The Head of Civil Service said this when the Zonal Vice President of the Martime Workers Union, Comrade Ekong Atai, led other members of the Exco on a visit on her in her office, recently.
The Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekerebong Akpan mentioned such investments in the maritime sector to include the Ibaka Deep Sea Port Project, Ibom Industrial City, Liberty Free Trade Zone, Landing Jetties and other maritime transport facilities. She called on Akwa Ibom people to key into this vision by investing and developing the needed manpower to enable them benefit from this lucrative sector.
She thanked the Zonal Maritime Workers for their ongoing 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 encouraged Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs to take advantage of the strategic location of Akwa Ibom State within the shore line 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 sea fairing 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.
Speaking earlier, the Zonal Vice President of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Ekong 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. Comrade Atai said that the union encourages high level of productivity and efficiency among its six thousand members in the maritime industry.
Comrade 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 artisan 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.
Comrade Atai used the forum to commend the achievements of the Governor Udom led administration in the areas of industrialisation, infrastructural development and labour friendly disposition.
He thanked the Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekerebong Akpan, and pledged the union’s support and cooperation to the present administration. Present during the visit was the Permanent Secretary, in the Office of The Head of Civil Service, Dr. Mrs. Comfort Archibong and that of the ministry of Eduction, Mrs. Helen Ante.