Saturday, 9 March 2019

How SDP guber candidate intends to solve electricity, unemployment challenges in C/River if elected

Nyok|9 March 2019 

The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Cross River, Mr Eyo Ekpo, in a recent interactive session with the Calabar Chamber of commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, described constant power supply as a catalyst for the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises in the state.

He stated this while unfolding plans on how his government intends to achieve stable electricity supply in the state if elected governor in the March 9th governorship elections.

He said: "We have in Odukpani a 500MW power plant that can supply not just Cross River State, but the rest of Nigeria power. Our need in Cross River as identified, is less than 100MW. If you were to take the power from that plant and domesticate it within Cross River, all it needs is a simple building of transmission lines which would take a few years. But if you start with the southern part of Cross River where you have a short distance from that plant, in a straight line it is less than 20km. By road it is about 40km.

"You can actually have the ability to work with our local electricity company and extend that power around the state by doing what has been done already in the north. If you go to places like Ogoja, every 50 to 60meter, you will see a transformer hanging on a pole. That was done years ago to take the distribution network across the state.

"In the southern part of Cross River you have plenty of power generation and in the north plenty of distribution infrastructure, but not enough generation. You can solve that problem in two ways: you can take Agbokim where you have a waterfall, you can take Obudu where you have a damn and use hydro resources to generate power for the central and the north. In the south you can build a short transmission line within the south, and move the power there.

"In the medium term, you build a transmission line from Calabar going straight up to Ogoja, to Obudu. We can take power from that power plant up to those places. You can find people from the private sector who are willing to do that because in the south we have industrial capacity and potential. In central we have solid mineral processing and agriculture. In the north we have the ability to run agric business in terms of diary or livestock farming, or what I mentioned earlier - tea, coffee that will require electricity. The potential to use that power is there. The only thing that is missing is the government that actually knows what to do. That is the only thing that is missing."

How SDP's Eyo Ekpo wishes to address unemployment and increase tax base in C'River

As activities for the 2019 governorship elections among political gladiators in Cross River State gradually get to crescendo, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the state, Mr Eyo Ekpo, has in his recently held interactive session with the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, identified enterpreneurship as key to addressing the issue of rampant unemployment in the state and as well as increase the state's tax base.

The session which provided the SDP flag bearer an opportunity to keep Cross Riverians abreast with what he has in stock for the state should he is voted in as governor on Saturday March 9, was very exhaustive as Mr Ekpo bare his mind on several issues confronting the state.

His words: "One of the things we would want to do is to set up a Cross River State Trust Fund. We believe that the money that is spent on paying people who are on unnecessary appointments, can be spent in training their children and taking care of their health care.

"We will set some of that money aside for a trust fund because we are producing hundreds of thousand of young people every academic session. These people come out as Cross Riverians and they have a right to find some kind of reasonable employment because they were not educated to be unemployed.

"Many of them have lots of ideas. Every week I meet people who do not need anything more than N4.5 milion. They don't need more than that to move their business higher. There are also young people who have no work at all, but have excellent ideas in their heads.

"All we want to do is to take those young people and train them in how to present themselves to people that have money either to lend to them or invest as equity in their business. How to write a business plan, how to manage small amount of money, how to sell their products. You train them in that and then help them to develop their ideas to a viable plan and then give them the N1 million, N1.5 million that they need to start that business and attached people to them as their mentors who would help them to grow their business.

"Some of them will fail, it's true. There's no where in the world where you will start a business and you will not fail. But most of them will succeed, and as they succeed, they employ people. This is the way we think we can grow small businesses in Cross River State. We will also put in place necessary infrastructure to help them maximize their business survivability."

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