With the deepening of the privatization of state enterprises and investment in the development of critical infrastructure, Nigeria now offers the best destination for investments in Africa, Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, has said.
Speaking in London where he addressed British investors at the Institute of Directors (IOD), Uduaghan said the Nigerian government has effected a paradigm shift from reliance on crude oil as the driver of the economy. According to him, investment in power sector, agriculture and manufacturing offer investors new vistas with yields that may not be obtainable anywhere else.
Uduaghan who was delivering a keynote address at an event marking Commonwealth Day Observance Service and the Nigerian Centenary celebration in London told British investors looking to invest in Africa to come to Nigeria.
“There are strong reasons for anyone to invest in Nigeria at this time, because the country is a haven for profitable investment.
“There is a bright future for Nigeria in terms of investment. The environment is right and is truly a destination for those investors heading to Africa.”
Uduaghan who spoke on “Perspectives on Sustainable Development in Nigeria’s Delta: The Delta Beyond Oil Initiative” said while oil remained a major resource, “we recognise its finite characteristic and that dependence on it in the way we have done, since it started to create wealth in the country would deny us other opportunities.
In a press release issued in London by the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Chike Ogeah, who accompanied Uduaghan on the investment drive, the governor illustrated the concept of his Delta Beyond Oil initiative which has become a template for the transformation of Nigeria’s economy. The initiative is designed to harness the potentials in other sectors of the economy to boost agriculture, boost small and medium scale enterprises and create employment.
“We know that examples abound around the world of countries that have tapped mainly human endowment to jump to the front ranks of societies in the world. The concept of Delta Beyond Oil was harnessed to mobilise the citizens, statesmen, lawmakers, civil servants, college professors, students, professionals, farmers and artisans that oil and gas may be good for now, but the future belongs elsewhere in the powers of the mind to generate wealth and well-being for ourselves and generations to come.”
Uduaghan said his government is providing enabling environment for investment in Delta State by focusing on infrastructure and human capital development as well as peace and security.
He explained that the Federal Government has been of tremendous support to the state as part of a drive to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the country as a whole.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria working closely with the Delta State Government is also building a multi-million dollar landing jetty in Okwagbe, a community located along the tributaries of the River Niger to support the state’s transport infrastructure,” he explained.
He listed one area where investors can partner with the state as tourism sector. According to Uduaghan, investors are now taking the advantage of the peaceful environment in Delta State to invest in tourism.
“Following our sustained drive in this area, a lot of tourism and hospitality industries are now springing up in the state. The biggest is the $240 million Delta Leisure Park by a private investor in partnership with the state government. We are also encouraging medical tourism by improving on the quality of secondary and tertiary hospitals just as we are encouraging private investment in healthcare.”
The IOD Director General, Simon Walker praised Uduaghan and other Nigerian leaders effort at repositioning the country for the future, saying “It has been remarkable one hundred years for Nigeria. It is befitting that during the centenary celebration we should celebrate Nigeria’s economic progress, the demography, the opportunities and the challenges that Nigeria face. I have no doubt that during this century we will be talking about Nigeria as one of the largest economy of the world. I hope that our two countries can come together to take advantage of these opportunities.
Also, Lord Watson of Richmond said, the population of Nigeria and its diversity is what any investor should be concerned with. “When people think about Nigeria, they don’t think about the past, they focus entirely on its present. That is of great importance. The population and diversity are source of strength for any nation. Nigeria and its dynamic growth and population are something that is in the mind of everyone who thinks about Africa.”
He explored the relationship between Nigeria and United Kingdom as good opportunity to consider by British investors saying, “our two nations are characterised by diversity. There is always a tension between diversity and unity, but the truth is we must tolerate each other and move beyond tolerance to protection.
The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo used the opportunity to enlighten the international community on the strides that Nigeria is making in the power sector with the privatization initiative.
He said that with the current investment in power plants in the country by the government and the private sector, Nigeria will in a short while become the best economy in Africa.
By Pius Mordi