• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
businessday logo


Fubara breaks the jinx, floats much-expected investment promotion agency

Fubara breaks the jinx, floats much-expected investment promotion agency

…Reels out mouth-watering deals

A big jinx may have been broken in the Rivers State economic and business jurisdiction as Governor Sim Fubara has announced the establishment of a Rivers State Investment Promotion Agency (RSIPA).

The jinx was broken Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at the opening ceremony of the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit 2024 where he reeled out many measures aimed at making Rivers State the number one investment destination of choice in the coming months and years.

Fubara, who declared the summit open, stated thus: “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.”

The announcement reverberated around the state and beyond where such an agency had for long been expected.

The idea of an investment promotion agency was mooted in the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration when the state’s economic advisory council had suggested it as a strategy to rebuild investment confidence in the oil city by ensuring that all services needed by an investor were housed in one place.

The government of that time however, ran into stormy political weather and left office in turbulence where investment seemed to be the last thing on their minds.

The next administration that came did not seem to look into such matters.

During the intervening period, however, most states in the region filled the vacancy by setting up investment promotion agencies which seemed to fight for investments from foreign and local entrepreneurs by floating mouth-watering incentives and waivers.

The need for the agency grew so critical that the organised private sector, especially the City Chamber (PHCCIMA), floated a mini one-stop-shop unit and invited various regulatory agencies to take visiting days.

Now, as Rivers State says it is back to business, it has started by floating such a critical agency.

Governor Fubara announced other measures aimed at relaunching the state in the area of investment and business.

Read also: Rivers opens for business as economic summit begins

He said: “Several state-owned but moribund companies, farmlands, and business infrastructure, including oil palm estates, rubber plantations, poultry, and fish farms are available for interested private investors to take over and revitalise. Additionally, Rivers State presents lucrative opportunities for the commercial production of highly valued cash crops for the export market.

“Given these advantages and many other attractive opportunities, the economy of Rivers State has great potential for serious investors to tap into, exploit and be rewarded with huge profits and lucrative returns on investments,” he said.

“Since assuming office,” he went on, “we have prioritised peace and security and focused on growing our economy through partnerships and collaborations in line with our belief that it is the private sector, not the state government, that grows the economy, creates jobs, and guarantees wealth and prosperity for our people.”

He also said: “Our commitment is to make 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 to boost investors’ interest and confidence in the state.

“We have 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.

“We are also working on the harmonisation of State and Local Government taxes to eliminate double taxation and the imposition of multiple levies on investors.

“Two weeks ago, we launched the N4bn matching fund loan scheme with the Bank of Industry Limited for small, micro, and medium-scale businesses to drive financial inclusion and enhance the growth and development of support these businesses to grow our economy, create jobs and wealth for our people.”

The governor further said that the mantra of his administration is: “Rivers First.”

“Our covenant and commitment are to serve our people to the best of our ability with compassion, honesty, and responsibility.

“I assure you all that our intentions are right; our commitment is unwavering, and with the collaboration and support of all, we will collectively harness the economic potential of Rivers State to achieve considerably high and sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the coming decade and build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.”

Giving details of top deals already on the table, he said: “In the first year of our administration, we received an appreciable number of expressions of interest from local and foreign investors to invest in diverse sectors of our economy, including agriculture, real estate, power generation, and manufacturing.

“We have signed a development agreement with TAF Nigeria Limited for the construction of 20,000 mixed houses in the Greater Port Harcourt City. We signed another development with Gosh Nigeria Limited for the construction of an international spare parts market. The State government provided hundreds of land as its equity and work has since started at both sites.

“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.

“Last week, the State Executive Council 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.”

“By and large,” he said, “Rivers State is the economic heartbeat of the Niger Delta region and the South-East and our focus at this time is to grow our economy to greater heights so that we can derive more tax revenues to deliver quality social services to our people.”