As part of modalities to boost food sufficiency despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has urged the state government to subsidize farm inputs for agricultural workers and inject more funds into critical food production in the state.
At Plenary on Thursday, the House moved that relevant government agencies should promote the availability of food, by regulating excessive export of home grown food items like crayfish and palm produce, to foster affordability and food security.
In a Motion titled ‘Post COVID-19 and Fall in Crude Oil Price: A Wake Up Call to Support Akwa Ibom Agricultural Sector’, sponsored by the Member representing Ibiono Ibom State Constituency, Hon. Godwin Ekpo, the House expressed worry over the excessive export of natural resources in the state and further called on government to see the current Covid-19 period as an opportunity to transform the agricultural sector.
The Ibiono Ibom Representative, while acknowledging the recent ban on importation of livestock, stressed the need for government to reduce dependence on imported foods by giving priority to the agricultural sector.
“That issues and requests related to the agricultural sector be given utmost priority and funds injected into critical food production, government should subsidize farm inputs, provide storage and preservative facilities for Agricultural workers and put measures in place to support and protect Akwa Ibom farmers”, he said.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, referred the Motion to the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources for indepth Study, directing the Committee to report back to the House within one month.
At Plenary also, A Bill for a Law to Establish the Akwa Ibom State Local Government Service Commission and for Other Matters Connected therewith, sponsored by the House Leader, Rt. Hon. (Sir) Udo Kierian Akpan, Akwa Ibom State Education Development Levy Bill, 2020, sponsored by the Member representing Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko, and Listed Sites (Preservation) Bill, sponsored by the Member representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency, Hon. Otobong Bob, 2020, all scaled through Second Reading.
The Bills were referred to Committees on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Education and Industry, Commerce and Tourism, respectively.
Similarly, A Bill for a Law to Establish the Akwa Ibom State Information Technology Development Agency (AISITDA), sponsored by the Member representing Itu State Constituency, Hon. Kufreabasi Edidem, was read the first time and committed to the Committee on Rules, Business and Ethics for rescheduling.
In the meantime, the House has adjourned its plenary to Thursday, June 14, 2020 at 10am.
Akwa lbom State House of Assembly.