By Glory James
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Special Duties, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh, has reiterated Government’s commitment and determination to make the state investors’ hub through the provision of infrastructure that will spin its economy and social status.
Rt. Hon. Etteh made this known on Thursday while inspecting the level of work done at the construction site of the 21-Storey Smart Building in Uyo, noting that “the facility, when completed, will not only compel the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Akwa Ibom to have their Offices in the state, but will also attract more multinationals to the state.”
The Commissioner, who said the pace of work has been seriously affected by the advent of COVID-19, expressed satisfaction with the level of work done, maintaining that “the work is advancing according to schedule. What is left is the external works. All the needed components for the completion of this project are on ground and they are all state-of-the-art. But for the recent pandemic and restriction of movement order, we would have commissioned this masterpiece this month, but now we are looking at September, all things being equal. As you can see for yourself, the work completion level is about 80%.”
“As soon as the restriction order is lifted and the airports opened, the project will commence fully. Hopefully, we will increase the workforce by 50% to enable us bring in more locals and also speed up,” he added.
Speaking, the Project Lead, Architect Ekanwan Alale, said the contractor, VKS Construction Company, has kept to specification and standard in the execution of the project.
She said the project was awarded as a 24-month duration contract and so far has been operated within the approved guideline and timeframe.
In his remarks, the Head of Civil Work, Engr. Etim Nkereuwem, explained that the major work has been carried out and what is left is external work and finishing including housekeeping, cleaning of site, landscaping etc.
“The Commissioner has made some critical and technical observations during the inspection, specifically the catch-pits on the drainage. We will surely guide the contractors to ratify and adhere to his instructions,” he explained.
Also speaking, the Project Consultant, Engr. Francis Uwah, said the work scope has been properly covered, adding that more grounds will be covered as soon as the lockdown ban is lifted and workforce increased.
Inspected points included the Drivers’ Bay; Security Post; Technical Building that housed three 800KVA Generators, Chillers and two 1,600KVA Ulusory Electric Transformers, two 200cubetons Fire Tank and Sewage Treatment Plant.
The Commissioner was accompanied to the site by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Engr. Richard Ekpe, and Director of Project Implementation and Coordination, Engr. Ephraim Udosen.