**** says it will sustainably reduce the prices of food commodities, tackle food insecurity 


A Fellow of both the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE) and the Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (FNISafetyE), Engr. (Dr) Wisdom Patrick Enang, has warmly commended the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno, on his swift and thoughtful signing into law, the bill for the establishment of the Akwa Ibom Bulk Purchase Agency, and the subsequent inauguration of the Bulk Purchase Agency Board.

Dr. Enang gave the commendation on Friday, March 29, while fielding questions from newsmen in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. 

In his commendation remarks, Dr. Enang noted that the establishment of the bulk purchase agency board is an intervention initiative intended to redress the high cost of staple food items in Akwa Ibom State, which according to him is predominantly caused by the Nation’s inflation, which currently stands at 31.70%.

The Adjunct Professor of the North Dakota University, USA, equally praised the Governor for the flag-off of the free food voucher initiative, noting that the initiative has all the imperatives for success, judging from a policy design and implementation template design standpoint. 

“Holistically speaking, both the free food voucher initiative, and the bulk purchase initiative are complementary in the sense that whilst the former addresses the food insecurity challenge in the short-term, the latter addresses the challenge in the medium-term. Ultimately, if well implemented, both policies should work complementarily in concert to increase the availability of staple food items at reduced prices in the short-to-medium term, whilst providing ample time for the State to mature its agricultural value-chain beyond subsistence levels.”

Speaking further, Dr. Wisdom Enang, a globally renowned energy expert who consults for numerous local and international energy companies, also commended members of the Akwa Ibom State legislature for expeditiously attending to the Bulk Purchase Agency Bill, which was sponsored by the Executive.

“The Governor’s swiftness in conceiving the bulk purchase agency bill, and also signing same into law, presupposes his love for the people of Akwa Ibom State, and further reaffirms his commitment towards administering a people-centered and grassroot focused governance.”

He equally explained that the Bulk Purchase Agency, as clearly envisioned by Gov. Umo Eno, is saddled with the onerous task of directly interfacing with farmers and traders in the market, to strategically source staple food items at reduce prices for Akwa Ibomites, leveraging on the economies of scale. He also noted that the success of the bulk purchase agency would be further amplified with the envisaged setup of the Agric Committee, as envisioned by the Governor, which will guarantee the supply of seedlings to citizens, to enable them return to the farm, and by extension boost the State’s agricultural produce in the long-term.

Dr. Wisdom Enang, an Akwa Ibom born, British trained Chartered Engineer who is fully registered with, and accredited by the British Engineering Council (BEC), also applauded Gov. Umo Eno for the quality of persons inaugurated as drivers of the Bulk Purchase Agency, even as he appealed to the appointees to heed the governor's plea of ensuring accountability and transparency, as stipulated for the agency.

“The bulk purchase and food voucher initiatives are bold and compassionate interventions by the government, intended to cushion the high cost of living presently felt across the State. As such, both schemes must be jealously and diligently nurtured to optimally succeed.”

He further appealed to members of the committee to ensure that they are always guided by the plights of the numerous needy and vulnerable in the State, cognizant of the present economic realities across the State and Nation. He equally highlighted two critical factors that underpins the success of the free food voucher initiative, including: effective and fair disbursement of the vouchers; and a strong symbiotic relationship between the committee, food producers and distributors, and custodians of the State’s social register.

The Chairman Board of Trustees of the succor-giving and BBC recognized “Sarah Enang Humanitarian Foundation” also informed that failing to update and regularize the social register over time, to accommodate more people across the electoral wards of the State, will defeat the essence of the program and make it counterproductive. 

The Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Czar also intimated that while flagging-off the Free Food Voucher Scheme for food security at the popular Itam Market in Uyo on Tuesday March 26, the Governor, cognizant of the key aspects of the commercial value-chain that needs to be addressed for SMEs (Small and Midsize Enterprises) to thrive, instituted a 1.5billion Naira Interest Free Trader’s Loan Scheme, which according to the economic expert and analyst, will provide market traders the much-needed financial lifeline to grow and scale their businesses.  Dr. Enang further noted that this was a very timely, welcomed and essential intervention, considering the fact that the going interest rates for bank loans currently stands at 2.5% per month, while the black-market loans typically attract interest rates as high as 10% per month.

While shedding more light on the modus operandi of the food voucher program, Dr. Wisdom Enang, who is widely known and respected for his massive and sustained advocacy for the adoption of a value-driven approach to leadership and governance, explained that to qualify for the food voucher, an indigene must ensure that his or her name is captured in the State’s Social Register, and they must be identified by local government officials as “someone in need”.

He further highlighted that the food items available for distribution as part of the scheme are garri, rice and beans weighing 5kg, which are to be distributed at the various food redemption centers located in market stalls and designated shops in the various electoral wards of all 31 local government areas of the State.

On the timeframe for the redemption of the food items, Dr. Wisdom Enang informed that the food redemption centers will remain open on Monday to Saturday, between 10:00AM to 5:PM daily, explaining that each beneficiary would be entitled to a rationed quantity of a particular food item, to ensure equity and sustainability of the initiative. 

On whether there was any price tag on the expected food commodities, the indomitable go-getter informed that those with the free food vouchers, having been identified as “the needy” through the social register, will have their commodities free, but in rationed quantities, while others with no voucher will be able to purchase food items at subsidized rates. 

Speaking further, Dr. Enang highlighted that the free food voucher program was only a short-term intervention initiative from the government, even as he re-echoed the Governor’s school of thought that “ultimate food sufficiency lies in citizens returning to the farm.” 

He equally implored traders who will access the loan to judiciously manage their loans with the conviction to pay back in due season as agreed upon, saying that this will ensure the sustainability of the loan scheme.

The renowned international scholar also vehemently discouraged the attitude of refusing to pay back government loans, or view same as “one’s share of the National cake”, an attitude which he noted as being ungrateful, irresponsible, wicked and immature. Speaking further on this note, the multiple excellence award winner harped on several foundational imperatives which will underpin the success of the proposed loan scheme including: assessment of the profitability and scalability of the trader’s business; as well as review of past records of the business and its owner, which will serve in part, as an indication of future performance.  

In his concluding remarks, the Essien Udim PDP Caucus member affirmatively assured that with the spate of development witnessed in just about a year of Gov. Umo Eno's administration in office, better days lies ahead for the people. The renowned public affairs analyst also leveraged the opportunity to commend the governor for being intentional in maximizing value for money, in the execution of his governance initiatives. 

He further urged Akwa Ibom people of all political parties and ethnic affiliation to continually support Governor Umo Eno's administration for an aggressively developed and better Akwa Ibom State.

Published by Pst Chief Bill Francis Bill CEO Billionaire Bill media Team and blog.

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