Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State Tuesday, May 5, 2020, embarked on an inspection visit to ADAPALM, the Palm Oil Producing Industry of the state, expressing confidence the place can employ 35,000 persons if fully revived.
The Governor on arrival at the place stated that his mission was to have on-the-spot assessment of the state of affairs in the industry and to see ways the government can contribute to facilitate industrial growth, harmony, expansion and increased productivity despite the resultant lockdown as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.
He expressed joy that production had commenced once again at ADAPALM and that 120 tons of Grade A oil per day are being produced, adding that the government is committed to bringing back the company as one of the state’s hopes of economic survival after the global economic downturn due to the coronavirus scourge.
Uzodimma said: “We are committed to bringing ADAPALM back to stream. It’s one of our greatest hopes of surviving the post-COVID-19 period immediately after the coronavirus pandemic era. Of course, you know that the economy is almost becoming epileptic. We have to look inwards to see how best we can restructure our economy, boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) strength, and then ensure that our citizenry is also busy.”
Governor Uzodimma assured that placing ADAPALM in its rightful place would lift the Internally Generated Revenue of Imo State, noting that the company on its own is a value chain that can produce not only palm oil but also other oil-related products like margarine, sheer butter, palm kernel oil, etc.
The Governor stated that the government is keen on expanding the company due to the potential 35,000 jobs that could be created to add to the economy of the state. He explained that Imo State stands to benefit from two to three billion naira (N2-3bn) turnover once the place is fully revived.
Governor Uzodimma however noted the deplorable state of the access road to the ADAPALM Plantation and other oil installations in the area and appealed for patience with the government to fix the road as soon as possible since past administrations demonstrated deliberate negligence to it.
Governor Uzodimma also used the opportunity to appeal to irate youths of the zone to eschew restiveness and vandalism of government property and other oil installations as his administration will not tolerate rascality and recalcitrance from any quarter. He urged them to use this period of stay-at-home order to take stock and rebrand themselves for use in government and other socio-economic spheres.
He frowned at the illegal activities perpetrated on ADAPALM and Imo State soil, especially the felling of 6,000 palm trees linked to Seplat Petroleum Development Company, and warned that the government will not take it lightly with any person or group that tampers with the economic trees of the state. The governor, however, said that the state will accept a position where the arrangement can result in a win-win situation, where crude oil exploration would be done in a symbiotic manner to benefit both State and Company.
Conducting Governor Uzodimma round some oil facilities owned by Seplat and a few other oil conglomerates, the Interim Management Committee Chairman of ADAPALM, Brig. Gen. Austin Kalu Egwuagu (retd.) thanked the governor and his entourage for finding time to visit the facility despite the attendant Covid-19 pandemic. Egwuagu added that the Committee will not disappoint Governor Uzodimma’s administration as they are having the ‘3R’ mantra of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Recovery as a watchword.