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Nasarawa attracts over $500m investment in two years

By Abel Abogonye, Lafia
23 February 2022   |   4:05 am
Nasarawa State, with its huge solid mineral deposit, coupled with agricultural endowments is gradually transforming into an investors haven.

ibrahim Abdullahi

Nasarawa State, with its huge solid mineral deposit, coupled with agricultural endowments is gradually transforming into an investors haven.

This is in line with governor Abdullahi Sule’s vision of transforming the state to an industrial hub through revitalisation of the state economy as encapsulated in his economic blueprint- The Nasarawa Economic And Development Strategy
(NEDS).

There is, no doubt, the state is on its way to become an investment destination given the investors that had been attracted to the state.

It is the only state in the Middle belt with an investment of over $500 million within the past two years.
The secret behind this feat is that Governor Sule is gradually bringing his experience in the private sector to bear by creating a public private partnership business to harness the huge business opportunities that abound in the state with its proximity to the nation’s capital.

On assumption of office, in 2019, Sule assembled an investment and economic team, comprising high profile professionals, whose wealth of experience span across the shores of Africa headed by Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi.

Furthermore, Governor Sule, in his unquenchable drive to attain this rare and lofty dream of wooing investors into the state, set up the Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency (NASIDA).

NASIDA is headed by Mr. Ibrahim Abdullahi as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), an outstanding investment lawyer, who has not only initiated policies that provided a conducive business climate for investors, but also leads the implementation of Governor Sule’s ambitious plan for the state wooing key investors both local and foreign into the state since the past three years.

In its one year anniversary, which held last week in Lafia, the state capital, the NASIDA CEO at a press conference declared that over $500million worth of investments have been attracted into the state since the Abdullahi Sule administration.

According to Abdullahi “NASIDA as one-stop-shop for investment in the state, was established by Governor Sule to revitalise the economy of the state by creating a business climate for private public investment”

He itemised the mandate of the agency to include among others; to initiate, promote, facilitate and coordinate investments in the state through green field public private partnerships.

“Further more, the agency oversees the management of the state infrastructure. Since inception of this administration we have closed 13 public private partnership projects, implemented eight significant business environment initiatives. This has attracted over $500million investments both local, domestic and foreign in key sectors of the state,” he said.

The CEO NASIDA also noted that with the influx of investment into the state, the monthly Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR) now stands at over N1 billion.

Abdullahi, however, stated that building an investment haven requires the support of people, traditional institution and security apparatus.

He acknowledged the role traditional rulers are playing by creating more friendly and enabling business environment for investors.

“No investor wants to invest in an unsecured community, in addressing insecurity challenge which is a major factor in the country, a special security apparatus has been designed with full support by the security institution,” Abdullahi said.

Abdullahi attested that Nasarawa is the most safe state given the structure put in place by the government to guarantee the safety of investments.

Currently, Nasarawa state is ranked among the top investment destinations in Nigeria, according to the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) in the first and second quarter of 2021.

“Furthermore, the state has attained the optimisation of a range of State Assets, which include among others the concession of the Karu Waste Recycling and Waste to Energy Project.

“Karu Retail and Recreational Mall is a set up of shopping mall with Shoprite as the Anchor Tenant in the Muhammadu Buhari International Market.”

Other investments in the state are Cassava Processing Park. The set-up of a cassava processing plant, to deliver multiple cassava derivatives meter manufacturing Plant.

Also, the set-up of a meter manufacturing capacity in Lafia, Nasarawa Agricultural Commodity Company (formerly Nasarawa Commodity Board Project)

Other investments are the set-up of an agriculture value chain development for rice, sesame, soya, and ginger.The most recent is the Nasarawa Technology Village, which is a development of a live, work, play innovative housing and ICT Hub, with work currently ongoing.

“Last week, the state government concessioned the N3.1bilion mega bus terminals newly constructed in Karu and Lafia.

“This was achieved through the signing of two joint venture agreements with a private firm, Diamond Stripes, during a ceremony at the Government House recently.

“With the agreements in place, Diamond Stripes, a major player in the transport industry will manage the N1.9bn Karu Mega Bus Terminal, as well as the N1.2bn Lafia Mega Bus Terminal.

“The company is expected to run the two facilities in collaboration with key stakeholders in the transport business, such as the National Union of Road Transport Owners and National Union of Road Transport Workers, among others.

Governor Sule at the signing of the agreements noted that it was in fulfilment of the desire of his administration to introduce innovations in the business of governance.

“We came with a dream to do things differently and I think this is one of those things. We have now completed the terminus ready for commissioning by Mr. President,” he said.

Sule added that with the signing of the two agreements, the two facilities will commence operation once they are commissioned, unlike in the past when it may take months for such facilities to be put to use.

He explained that it has become necessary to concession the terminals to a private company because it has been proven that government is not a good manager of business enterprises.

Sule noted that it is only through such arrangements that government can be able to get returns on its investment and to be able to channel the proceeds towards other development initiatives.

While appreciating the presence of key stakeholders in the transport sector such as NARTO, NURTW, VIOs, the governor expressed satisfaction that critical partners are also involved in the concession arrangement.

The Governor disclosed that the Karu Mega Bus Terminal has capacity for 900 vehicles, while that of Lafia can contain 240 vehicles.

Sule assures both NARTO and NURTW of adequate space to accommodate their vehicles in the terminus, he, therefore, urged officials of the two transport unions to collapse all other bus stops within Lafia and Karu into the two new facilities.

In his remarks, Abdullahi noted that the vision of the governor towards industrialiation of Nasarawa State, as well as increased private sector participation is fast being fulfilled.

Abdullahi stated that the event brought two gains for the state. “On the one hand, you are ushering in a brand new Nasarawa Transport Company, that is private sector financed and private sector led.

“On the other hand, you are putting into use a critical infrastructure that you built. This is what we call the Nasarawa Integrated Transport Project,” he explained.

NASIDA is however optimistic that with the current influx of both local,, domestic and foreign investors into the state, the industrialisation plan by the Sule led administration is gradually becoming a reality.

The NASIDA boss appealed to residents and indigenes to support the current industrialisation dream of the governor through cooperation with government policy, which is people driven.

He appealed to investors, domestic and foreign to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in a state that is investor friendly and safe.

The state has since announced its goal to be amongst the top three investment destination in Nigeria. The main approach to deliver that vision is through an Ease of Doing Business programme that seeks to have a transformational impact on its business environment. Recently, several steps have been taken towards ease of Doing Business by the state government around priority areas, which includes starting a business, obtaining construction permits, land administration and paying taxes. “

Today, property registration processes have been fully automated end to end. There is also the full digitisation of land administration and title document applications by the Nasarawa Geographic Information System, (NAGIS). All of our taxes are harmonised and linked to the state’s central billing system. There is currently a Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework that has been signed into law that provides comfort to investors who worry about a change in policy due to a change in administration. The current administration understands the inkling of its investors and is constantly seeking opportunities to engage with them and ensure an exciting environment.” NASIDA CEO noted.