Tony John, Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says administration has implemented sound economic policies and programmes that have made the state the investment destination of Nigeria.
Governor Wike spoke, on Tuesday, during a special investment programme organised for the state by the Financial Times tagged: “Invest in Rivers State ” at their headquarters in London.
Governor Wike also told the investors that return on investment in the state is the highest in Nigeria.
His words, “The Government of Rivers State remains committed to making Rivers State the best place in Nigeria to live, work and do business through the implementation of sound policies and creating the enabling peaceful, secure and friendly environment for doing business in Rivers State. Investors are warmly welcomed, Rivers State awaits you “.
The Rivers State governor assured intending investors that his administration has lined up incentives that have made the state investor-friendly.
According to him, the state government, under his leadership has provided visibility gap funding, minimum revenue guarantee, provision of land for development, provision of subsidies and reduction of exemption from payment of taxes and levies.
He continued, “There is a stable, focused and progressive government that is committed to the state’s economic objectives, which is to build a strong, balanced and growing economy for Rivers State.
“The Government has created the most business friendly environment for Rivers State with unprecedented investments in infrastructure, tax reforms and related economic incentives to reduce cost of doing business “, Governor Wike explained on why European investors should invest in Rivers State.
He added: “We have given unprecedented attention to security of lives and property, Rivers State is now safe and secure for businesses and investors “.
Governor Wike added that his administration has eliminated double taxation, instituted expeditious processing and grant of land documents, facilitation of investment processes and regulatory approvals.
He said that intending investors in the oil and gas sector would benefit from the presence of the Oil and Gas Free Zone in the state, noting that the facility provides opportunities for the establishment of businesses across the oil and gas value chain.
The governor declared that the Rivers government has institutionalised laws, processes and policies to protect investments in the state.
He continued, “Besides national laws, the Rivers State Government has also put in place appropriate legal framework to promote and protect investments in the state . ”
Governor Wike said as a gateway into the South-South and South-East zones, Rivers State also boasts of immense investment opportunities in the area of information and communication technology.
He added that there remarkable investment opportunities in the areas of tourism and hospitality, pointing out that as the destination of choice for organisers of events, conferences and sporting events, Rivers State investment climate will reward any foreign investor.
He pointed out the successes recorded by establishing the innovative Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, which is now a regional centre of tourism, attracting several thousands of Nigerian and foreign visitors.
Governor Wike informed the European investors pthat investment opportunities exist at the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, where his administration has established framework for public-private partnerships , land subsidies and the development of infrastructure.
He also stated that there are investment opportunities in the area of manufacturing where investors can take advantage of the Trans-Amadi Industrial Estate. He added that Public Housing and property development remain another profitable outlet because of the population of the state.
The governor maintained that the availability of vast arable land and water, make Rivers State the national hub of agriculture and agro processing.
He said: “The state’s population, including the middle class, is increasing in geo-metric proportions. Besides, the availability of a young educated, skilled and semi skilled population eager for employment offers abundant workforce and large emerging and relatively untapped market for consumer products and services .
Governor Wike said that the State possesses abundant natural resources, two existing seaports, an international airport and Nigeria’s second largest economy, waiting for credible international investors.
In his remarks, Commercial Director of Financial Times in charge of Africa and Middle East, Mark Cowardine, assured Wike that the message of the investment potentials of State would promote economic growth in the state.
Vice Chairman of Westminster Africa Business Group, Mr. Tim Johnsen, noted that the presentation of Governor Wike has highlighted key areas of investments to be explored by European Investors.
The Chief Executive Officer of Invest Africa and United Kingdom Business Council for Africa , Karen Taylor, said that the State Government has redefined the economic advantage of Rivers, making it attractive to the world.
Leyla Boulton, Editor, Special Reports of Financial Times, said that Rivers has become Nigeria’s leading economic destination due to the programmes initiated by Governor Wike.
Imad Mesdoua, Senior Consultant at Control Risks expressed satisfaction with the quality of information and opportunities that Governor Wike has exposed to Europe on Rivers State.
Governor Wike was accompanied by Sen. George Sekibo, Commissioner of Information and Communication, Emma Okah, Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Anabrabra, Commissioner of Sports, Boma Iyaye and Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government said it has noted planned attempts to work against the economy of the state by making unsubstantiated reports to the outside world.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, made the disclosure yesterday, during a media parley in Port Harcourt, and charged businessmen and women operating in the state to change the narratives.
Nsirim charged: “As a businessman in Rivers State, you should promote the economy of the state. Attention should be paid to the economy of the state, where you are doing the business because the resources of the place matter. People should change the narratives”.