By Henry Uche, Lagos
At the just-concluded webinar session of the Nigeria Finance Week organised by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), in Abuja, representatives of different state governors and senior personnel from various state investment promotion agencies have pitched diverse business opportunities to investors for possible bankrolling.
Speaking about opportunities in Lagos, Solape Hammond, Special Adviser on SDGs and Investments to the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, described Lagos as the industrial hub of Nigeria, hosting more than 70% of businesses and recipient of an annual average of over 80% of foreign direct investments inflow into the country. She maintained that the state is the powerhouse of digital innovation.
Jide Ikeako, MD/CEO, Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ASIPPA), described Anambra as the gateway to the progress of the South-East. He stated that despite their relatively smaller land size, they account for about 35% of all trade volume in the country. ‘Anambra is a key logistics hub with its airport and seaport. It is an oil and gas state with over 4tcf (4 trillion cubic feet of gas). We are a private sector-focused state; we can always sit around the table and get a deal done,’ Ikeako said
Earlier in the session, Executive Secretary/CEO, NIPC, Ms Yewande Sadiku, invited investors to consider Nigeria as their entry port into Africa, noting that the country remains an important part of Africa’s development strategy.
Stakeholders and experts across the board challenged state governors and other public officers and resource controllers to be committed. They maintained that it is not enough to make policy statements and other promises to woo investors but must take practical steps to execute projects and fully keep to terms and agreements with strategic partners.
‘It’s easier said than done. We do not want policy statements without meaningful actions. We want every party to keep to terms reached as precise. The masses have suffered untold hardship. All our efforts should be geared towards ameliorating their excruciating conditions and not to aggravate them. If everyone knows what is best for the people especially the youths, everyone should do it pronto. Enough of breach of contracts. Let’s work the talk,’ they stated.
Following his counterparts, Hamza Sarki Bello, Head of the Niger State Investment Promotion Agency, stated that Niger is the first in the production of rice and melon, stressing that the state is among the largest producers of Cassava and Yam. ‘We are the first in the production of shea nut, we have been able to attract an investor who established a factory around Suleja that would be the largest processor of shea nut in Africa,’ he stated.
Mr Kelvin Uwaibi, Head of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office, described Edo as the heartbeat of Nigeria. ‘Edo is a logistics hub. We are number one in Oil palm production.’ Uwaibi said. He stated that in terms of tourism and culture, Edo people are hospitable to visitors. He added: ‘At Edo State Investment Promotion Office, we can ensure that you of doing business in Edo without hassles and with the right [fiscal] incentive to support.’
Umma Yusuf Aboki, Head of Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency, invited investors to Kaduna, quoting the World Bank which ranked the state as the easiest state in the federation to do business. In terms of investment opportunities, Umma stated that ‘Kaduna has huge deposits of gold of high quality, a large landmass and arable land for integrated farming. Kaduna is the number one producer of 5 industrial crops: maize, tomatoes, ginger, sorghum and soybeans in the country.’
Chibuzor Okafor, GM/CEO, Enugu State Investment Development Authority (ESIDA), said the state is historically known for its coal deposits, and it also has a large deposit of oil and gas. ‘We are rated number 4 in the country in terms of real estate development, the state has two free trade zones as well as an international airport to the southeast to support businesses; Enugu prides itself as the gateway to the south-east and South-South of the country. Also, the state has competitiveness in agriculture; it is home to the largest landmass in the South-East,’ he stated.