…Says Apache Aluminum of America to build aluminum plant in Ogoni

…Israeli company to manage Songhai farms, others

…To eliminate double taxation

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara has said his administration is committed to making Rivers State the best place in the country to invest and do business by creating a vibrant, investor-friendly business environment, and improving the ease of doing business in order to boost investors’ interest and confidence.

Governor Fubara stated this at the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit holding at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

The governor emphasised that his government is building a resilient, robust, and diversified economy which holds the key to sustainable peace, security and progress as well as the spiritual, social, and physical well-being of the people.

He noted that he is committed to re-industrialisation of the State in partnership with the informal and organised private sectors through necessary policy, legal, and other support measures, and systems.

Gov. Fubara pointed out that the state has since lost her rating as one of the industrialised and most competitive as a preferred destination for domestic and foreign direct investments which resulted in the continuous posting of low economic growth, high unemployment rate, and slow development.

“For decades, the Rivers State Government had continued to depend more on allocations from the federation account to fund its expenditures because tax revenues had remained low due to low investments and economic growth.”

He said this necessitated his approval of the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit 2024 as the first of several measures to unveil the economic potential of the State to both local and foreign investors and markets.

“Against this background, I feel very optimistic that Rivers State will emerge from this summit and position itself as a premier investment destination, offering boundless economic opportunities for domestic and global investors.”

The governor noted that Rivers State is blessed with enormous human and natural resources, including fertile soil, solid minerals, and an extensive coastline with great water bodies, adding that the state is the centre-point of oil and gas industry in West Africa accounting for over 40% of crude oil production onshore in the country and 100% of liquefied gas that the country exports.

“Rivers State also is the second largest economy in Nigeria, and with a nominal GDP of over $28.4bn, and the economy ranks in the top 25 economies in Africa comparable to countries like Botswana, Rwanda, and Gabon.”

“The State has a relatively robust infrastructure, including good roads, two seaports, an international airport, and a free trade zone, and with a population of over seven million indigenously diverse, educated, highly hospitable people, and a business-friendly environment, and stands at the centre of diverse economic opportunities.”

He therefore called on investors to take advantage of the vast opportunities across the diverse sectors of the economy, which includes the oil and gas, agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, education, ICT, and healthcare, infrastructure development, glass products, and garments production, as well as power generation and transmission.

“With over 40% of fertile cultivable landmass, Rivers State has the potential to make a significant contribution to national food security with commercial investments in mechanised agriculture and the agro-processing industrial value chains.

Sir Fubara listed several of the state-owned but moribund companies, farmlands, and business infrastructure, which includes oil palm estates, rubber plantations, poultry, and fish farms that are available for interested private investors to take over and revitalize, stressing that the State presents lucrative opportunities for the commercial production of highly valued cash crops for the export market.”

He stated that his administration has already implemented certain policy initiatives and reforms, including the prompt allocation and issuance of land titles and certificates of occupancy to prospective investors and a moratorium on State taxes and levies on new businesses, adding that his government is working on the harmonization of State and Local Government taxes to eliminate double taxation and the imposition of multiple levies on investors.”

The governor emphasised that his government recently launched a N4 billion naira matching fund loan scheme with the Bank of Industry for small, micro, and medium-scale businesses to drive financial inclusion and enhance their growth and development.

“Furthermore, we have also approved the establishment of the Rivers State Investment Promotion Agency to provide one-stop-shop investment services and facilitation to investors in the State.”

He stated that in the first year of his administration, he received an appreciable number of expressions of interest from local and foreign investors in diverse sectors of the economy, which led to signing a development agreement with TAF Nigeria Limited for the construction of 20,000 mixed houses in the Greater Port Harcourt City and another development agreement with Gosh Nigeria Limited for the construction of an international spare parts market with the State providing hundreds of hecters of land as its equity.

“In addition, Apache Aluminium LLC of America has started the acquisition of land to establish a multi-billion-naira aluminium rolling mill (plant) in the Ogoni axis of Rivers.”

“We have opened discussions with Imagine Adama Agricultural and Technology of Israel to support the State in developing our huge agricultural potential, including reviving abandoned agricultural projects and infrastructures such as the Rivers Songhai Farm, the School-to-land farms, fish farms, feed mills, oil palm estates and poultry farms across the State. We have earmarked about 10 million USD for this project this fiscal year.”

Sir Fubara pointed out that the State Executive Council recently approved the proposal by Rainbow Heritage Group to build the New Port City in the State on about 1000 hectares of land in collaboration with the Greater Port Harcourt City Authority.”

“We have also concluded arrangements for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Planet One Holding Limited of Dubai for a 10,000,000 USD Mangrove Forests Conservation and Carbon Capture Project under the Private Public Partnership arrangement.”

He reiterated that the mantra of his administration is “Rivers First, which is a covenant and commitment to serve the people with compassion, honesty, and responsibility, assuring that the intentions of his government are right, unwavering, and with the collaboration of the people they will collectively harness the economic potential of the State to achieve considerable high and sustainable economic growth and prosperity to build a brighter future for the state.

Speaking earlier, the chairman of the summit and former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke lauded the vision of Governor Siminalayi Fubara in putting together the economic summit to create a pathway for economic growth and prosperity for the state, describing it as the real policy action to restore the state to her true position as the treasure base of the nation.

He said Rivers State has greater potential as it is blessed with diverse natural resources to attract investors from across the globe and diversify her economy.

In his keynote address, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu harped on the relevance of the summit in advancing the economic opportunities of Rivers State and commended the initiators as it provides the platform for investors to take advantage of.

On his part, the Chairman of the local organizing committee and Chairman of Rivers State Internal Revenue Service, Dr. Chibeoso Aholu said the theme of the summit, “Rivers Emerge: Advancing Pathways to Economic Growth and Sustainability” reflects the collective aspiration to harness innovative strategies and sustainable practices for a thriving economic future.

He said the summit is designed to explore dynamic trends, foster insightful dialogues, and build strategic partnerships that will propel the state into a prosperous future.

-Gist Report

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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