The management of The Financial Times of London and other leading European investors have rated Rivers State as Nigeria’s leading economic destination due to the programmes instituted by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Top member of the management of the World renowned economic and investment newspaper gave the indication yesterday. during a special investment programme organised for Rivers State by The Financial Times tagged: ‘Invest In Rivers State’ at its headquarters in London.
Speaking at the programme,Editor, Special Reports of Financial Times, Leyla Boulton said that Rivers State has become Nigeria’s leading economic destination due to the programmes initiated by Wike.
The Chief Executive Officer of Invest Africa and United Kingdom Business Council for Africa, Karen Taylor said that the government has redefined the economic advantage of Rivers State, making it attractive to the world.
Vice Chairman of Westminster Africa Business Group, Tim Johnsen noted that the presentation of Wike has highlighted key areas of investments to be explored by European investors.
In his remarks, Commercial Director of Financial Times in charge of Africa and Middle East, Mark Cowardine assured the Rivers State governor that the message of the investment potentials of Rivers State will promote economic growth in the state.
Senior Consultant at Control Risks, Imad Mesdoua, expressed satisfaction with the quality of information and opportunities that Wike has exposed to Europe on Rivers State.
Speaking at the occasion,the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike declared that his administration has implemented sound economic policies and programmes that have made the state the investment destination of Nigeria, adding that return on investment in the state is the highest in Nigeria.
Wike said: “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 governor assured intending investors that his administration has lined out incentives that have made the state investor friendly.
According to the Rivers State governor, the Rivers 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.
“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”, Wike explained on why European investors should invest in Rivers State.
Wike added: “We have given unprecedented attention to security of lives and property, Rivers State is now safe and secure for businesses and investors”.
The governor added that his administration has eliminated double taxation, instituted expeditious processing and grant of land documents, facilitation of investment processes and regulatory approvals.
Wike said that intending investors in oil and gas 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 State Government has institutionalised laws, processes and policies to protect investments in the state.
He said: “Besides national laws, the Rivers State Government has also put in place appropriate legal framework to promote and protect investments in the state”.
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 are 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.
The governor 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.
Wike informed the European investors that 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.
The state chief executive 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 makes 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.
Wike said that Rivers State possesses abundant natural resources, two existing seaports, an international airport and Nigeria’s second largest economy, waiting for credible international investors.
Wike was accompanied by Senator George Sekibo, Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barrister Emma Okah, Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Anabraba, Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara.
The Rivers State Government says there are sinister moves by enemies of the government to stifle the economy of the state through orchestrated media-sponsored propaganda.
The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim stated this while speaking as chairman during a media chat by the management of Showers Group of Schools at Grace Plaza, Woji Road in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Nsirim opined that the intention of the purveyors of the scheme was to blackmail the state government and cripple economic activities with insecurity-sponsored propaganda in the media, adding that the state was safe more than any other state in the country.
According to him, the state is the hub of oil and gas production which sustains the country, lamenting that due to the media-induced propaganda, some of the operators were moving out of the state.
He urged the media to change the narrative by telling the world and the society the proper situation of things in the state with a view to informing the public about prevailing peace and security and the aboundant business opportunities in the state.
“A lot of businesses in the state are moving to the West due to the media propaganda.
“As journalists, we must help to change the narrative. If you go to Onne and other places, you will see that there is nothing happening”, he stressed.
The permanent secretary averred that those living and doing business in the state owe it as a duty to support the state government in its effort to better the economy by painting the true picture of the state.
“If you live in the state and do business here, you owe it a duty to protect the economy of the state. In fact, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the media must rise above this sentiment, and help tell the true story of Rivers State”, he added.
Nsirim, however, said there was the need to support those who were providing qualitative education in the state so as to encourage them to succeed in their business of human development.
Earlier in her speech, the Chief Executive Officer, Showers Group of Schools, Mrs Ekama Emilia Akpan said the essence of the media chat was to build good relationship with the media as well as showcase some achievements recorded by the school.
Ekama said the passion of using the youth to capture the society was the reason why she chose education as the only way to achieve the target, adding that the school has commenced A-Level programmes for Nigerian students aimed at affording them opportunity to gain direct admission into tertiary institutions abroad.
She also disclosed that her students have made outstanding performances in their academic careers within and outside the shores of the country.
RSG Marks Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day In Low Key
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, has said that the state government would celebrate the 63rd Independence Day of the nation in low key, as directed by the Federal Government.
Briefing the Central Planning Committee on the development in his office in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Danagogo said that the church thanksgiving service and parade events would now hold on Sunday, October 1 as against Monday, October 2 earlier slated for the parade.
He added that the venue of the parade ground would now be the Government House at 2pm.
Danagogo noted that because the anniversary was going to be observed in low key, school children and voluntary organisations would no longer participate in the parade, as earlier planned.
The SSG further confirmed that the church service would still hold at the St. Paul’s Cathedral Church by Rebisi Flyover in Diobu at 10am.
He called on all invited guests to adjust their programmes to fit into the new schedule so as to ensure successful Independence Day celebration in the state.
Danagogo noted that the state Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, would inspect the Guard of Honour at the Government House Ground.
“Please, invited guests are requested to be seated before His Excellency arrives for all the events,” the SSG advised.
Suspend Planned Strike, Senate Begs Labour Unions
As Nigeria marks her 63rd anniversary of independence, today, the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to suspend their plan to embark on an indefinite strike in the national interest.
Bamidele noted that the Federal Government and all its relevant agencies are working underground to come up with viable options in response to the demands of organised labour.
In a statement, yesterday, Bamidele congratulated Nigerians across all socio-economic and political strata on the 63rd anniversary since Nigeria became an independent nation.
Bamidele observed that Nigeria, from October 1, 1960 to date, despite her internal challenges, remained “a strong, united and indivisible nation that still provides strong leadership not only for West Africa but also the entire Africa.”
With the new government at the helm of affairs, Bamidele assured Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora that the federation would soon come out of diverse challenges undermining her progress, citing diverse development-driven reforms that the new government has initiated.
The Senate leader, therefore, urged Nigerians to team up with the new government to lead the federation out of the doldrums; implement key reforms that would create limitless opportunities for her teeming young population and rebuild global confidence in the country.
He, specifically, appealed to the leadership of the NLC and TUC not to embark on an indefinite strike in the national interest, saying such an action “will further inflict pains on Nigerians at the time the new government is working hard to address their concerns and grievances.
“At a time like this, labour unions are advised to embrace dialogue rather than consider options that will compound the sufferings of the people. At a time like this, all parties are supposed to go into negotiation with absolute trust in the new government.”
He noted that President Bola Tinubu’s economic reforms would soon begin to yield positive outcomes that would exponentially boost the standard of living among Nigerians irrespective of their socio-economic status.
The Senate leader hailed the founding fathers of Nigeria “for their unalloyed patriotism, towering nationalism, uncommon sacrifice and dogged struggle that culminated in the independence of the country on October 1, 1960.
“As Nigerians, we are under obligation to ensure that the labour of our heroes will never be in vain. I congratulate Nigerians as our nation turns 63 as a strong, united and indivisible nation that the world over is now waiting for to occupy her rightful place among nations.”
Bamidele enjoined Nigerians to maximise the opportunity inherent in their comradeship, willful togetherness and collective desire to further travel the journey ahead and make Nigeria a better place to proudly bequeath to the next generation.
He, however, reassured all stakeholders that the 10th Senate would continue to make impactful legislations for Nigeria’s common good; under the leadership of the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
NEC Pleads With Labour To Shelve Strike
The National Economic Council (NEC) has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) not to abandon dialogue in their quest for better welfare for their members.
The Council also appealed to the unions to suspend their planned nationwide indefinite strike schedule to start on October 3.
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State stated this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the nation was at a very critical moment in its history, adding that some States took over such labour crisis when they assumed office in May.
According to him, some of such States just resolved the crisis and will be unfair for the labour to return to another industrial action.
The Plateau State governor said that the proposed industrial action would have immense effect on the economy of both the states and the Federal Government.
He said that the NEC expressed genuine concern about the situation in the country and appealed for calm and patience among Nigerians.
“The National Economic Council (NEC) deliberated on the planned indefinite strike by the National leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to proceed on an indefinite strike on Oct. 3, 2023.
“The council noted further the implications of the planned strike on the economy and the nation and thus urge members to continue to engage with the leadership of their respective states.
“It appeals to them to suspend the action and to continue on the path of dialogue with the Federal Government. This is the appeal of the council.”
Mutfwang said that the council appreciated the concerns raised by the NLC to have those issues addressed, adding that NEC also appealed for time to address the concerns of labour.
“We also believe that President Bola Tinubu will be addressing the nation on Oct. 1, and some of the concerns of labour will be appropriately addressed in the president’s speech.
“It is therefore important to note that it’s a federation issue, so whatever happens the labour is represented in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“And NEC is appealing that discussion should continue at the state levels because there will be peculiarities as to the issues to be addressed concerning the demands of labour and therefore dialogue is the way to go.
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