The commissioner for special duties has said the scheduled commencement of business at the Four-Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, has been hampered by the advent of COVID-19.
Mr Okpolupm Etteh stated this in Ikot Ekpene while conducting a team of government officials led by the commissioner for information, Mr Charles Udoh, round the facility.
Etteh said the state-of-the-art facility will be managed by Marriott Group, the new owner of Starwood brand, Four-Points by Sheraton.
He informed that "there is nothing political about the delay in opening the hotel. The Udom Emmanuel-led administration would not have committed huge resources, including a yearly maintenance contract and acquisition of operating equipment and supplies through Marriott to meet its global standard, if it was not ready to get the facility running.
"This government has also set up and completely installed state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure, electronics and other installations, including provision of a dedicated power line from the national grid to ensure optimal operation of the facility, he added.
The special duties commissioner, who also said "the Hotel will boost tourism and internally generated revenue in the state, assured that the government would sustain engagement with the Marriott Group to ensure immediate commencement of operations.
Accompanied by the ministry's director for project implementation and coordination, Engr Ephraim Udosen, the commissioner showed the team different aspects of the facilities provided in the hotel, including the ones in the Presidential Suite, Executive Suite, standard rooms and others acquired and paid for by state government through Marriott Group.
In his remark, the commissioner for information, Mr Charles Udoh, said "the visible transformation in the facility leaves no one in doubt that the Akwa Ibom State government is committed to delivering on its promise to kick-start full operation of the luxury facility.
Responding, the manager of Marriott Group, Mr Martin Brainoit, acknowledged the commitment of the Akwa Ibom government in meeting its international standard and assured that the organization was doing finishing touches to ensure immediate commencement of operation.
Present at the event were the permanent secretary of the ministry, Engr Richard Ekpe; as well as SA Media on Research and Documentation, Mr Essien Ndueso; among others.