By Ogar Monday; House of Assembly Correspondent
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state has written the state House of Assembly demanding approval to access the sum of Forty Seven Million, Twenty Thousand, Four Hundred and Four Dollars (USD47,020,404 GBP35,137,408) for the construction of “Low Tech,” “High Tech” and “3D Centers” across the state.
The letter with reference number: “SSG/S/300/VOLXVII” and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Tina Agbor which was read on the floor of the House however did not state whether the money was a grant or loan.
The letter read in part: “In line with the state Government’s desire to improve Information Communication and Technology through the establishment of a High and Low Technology Training Centers, in the State, has approached the Bidgin Foundation, a renowned company in supporting development and education particularly in Africa for a partnership project at a total cost of USD47,020,404.00 (forty seven million, twenty thousand, four hundred and four dollars) for the 2017 projects.
“I am pleased to convey His Excellency, the Governor’s request to Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members to consider and pass a resolution granting approval for Government to partner with Bridgin Foundation and acceptance of the sum of USD47,020,404.00 (forty seven million, twenty thousand, four hundred and four dollars) only from the company for the purpose of construction of low High Tech and 3D centres in Cross River State.”
The money totals NGN16,927,345,440 (Sixteen billion, nine hundred and twenty seven million, three hundred and forty five thousand, four hundred and forty Naira only) with an exchange rate of NGN360 to the dollar.
And, the Leader of the House Honorable Moses Ucheche (PDP Obanliku) stated that it was a thing of joy that the government is thinking towards the development of the ICT sector through the building of training centers and should be something the Assembly encourages.
However, Honorable Stephen Ukpukpen (PDP Obudu) who praised the government for its deep thinking, queried why the letter didn’t state whether the money to be accessed was a loan or a grant and if it was a loan, how the state government intends to pay back.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Ugbal reports that one Mr. Uri Sela from High Tech Initiative; an Israeli company had approached the state government for the construction of High Tech and Low Tech centers in the state.
Mr. Sela had said that a similar center had been set up in Cameroon where student’s employability had been boosted as they can now compute machine and robotic languages.
An excited Mr. Ayade had signed the Memorandum of Understanding and since then, nothing has been heard of the company again.