By Achike Uchena, Umuahia
Abia State Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a private investor in palm, S-ATM Nigeria Limited, on the Abia State palm estate in Ohambele in Ukwa East Local Government Area of the state.
The Palm estate is expected to support Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s drive to restore the state as the number one palm producer as well as to create jobs for the teeming youths of the state.
An official of the state government, Hon Azubuike assured the investors that government will keep their part of the agreement as Governor Ikpeazu is in a hurry to return the state to the years of palm plantations dotting the landscape of the state.
Expounding on the MoU, Hon. Azubuike said: “Part of what we have signed now is that S-ATM Nigeria Limited must build an oil mill inside the palm estate there in Ohambele. Also the estate is going to employ over 5000 Abians, with greater percentage of the employment from the Ohambele community.”
Speaking during the MOU signing ceremony, the Managing director of the S-ATM Nigeria Limited, Engr.Ogunleye , assured that his company will fulfill the terms of the agreement including investing the needed funds to realise the goals of the state palm plantation and employ Abians.
According to him, “more than 40% of the company’s employees will be Abia indigenes and we will also utilise the services of the members of the host community, thereby reducing the rate of unemployment in the state”.
The investor and his bankers, UBA Plc, expressed appreciation to the State government for providing the enabling environment for new investors to do business in the state without excessive bureaucratic bottlenecks.