• Friday, June 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Gains of Governor Sule’s economic, investment drive in 3yrs

Nasarawa natural endowments path to sustainable economic growth – Sule

Governance is said to be the mainstay and defining essence of any democratic government in the world, hence is all about service delivery, as well as meeting the yarning and aspirations of the people at all times in a more effective and practical ways.

It is only when this process of running government affairs is observed, then, nothing would be meaningful, even to the governed. Also, it is only in this process that human and material resources are equally distributed for the good of the society and the well-being of the masses.

The above simply depict the kind of leadership style and services the government of Abdullahi Sule is rendering to the people in the last three years as governor of Nasarawa State.

When Governor Sule took over the mantle of leadership as the fourth Chief Executive Officer of the state in May 2019, he wasted no time in putting in place necessary measures and legal framework that is enabling his government attain its development goal, as dreamed by the state’s founding fathers.

This is why Governor Sule is steadily keeping faith with the principles of good governance as a cardinal objective of his administration, where human and material resources are harnessed and driven to actualize the policies of his government in line with the aspirations of the people.

It is on this basis that Governor Abdullahi Sule immediately on assumption in office, came up with an economic blueprint called, the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), thereafter, he set up a 15-man Economic Advisory Council, headed by a renowned economist and an entrepreneur, Prof. Akonyinsola Ajayi, and then established the Nasarawa Investment Development Agency (NASIDA). These measures are basically to drive home Governor Sule’s desire of making the state one of the best and top investment destinations in the country.

While the Ajayi’s economic advisory team came up with mechanism to harness the economic potentials of the state, put up strategies that is encouraging investment, providing advisory role in specialised industry as well as attracting domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the state; the NEDS being a 4-year working plan document on investment and economic, encapsulate the vision and key strategies to develop the economy of the state. The NEDS is to further project the state to become an investment destination and one of the top most competitive states in the country. The advisory council is therefore stimulating and gingering the implementation of the NEDS document. While NASIDA on the other hand, is established to specifically promote, facilitate and coordinate investment activities in the state and beyond, as well as to actualising the economic and investment objectives of Governor Abdullahi Sule. It’s also championing investment innovative approach to working with investors in exploring and developing opportunities that leverages on the vast arable lands, conducive atmosphere, good geographic location and mineral deposits in the state.

These was specifically to foster relationships with the private sector to ensure that the business climate in the state is top notch, safe and healthy, as adjudged by small business owners to big conglomerates in the last three years of Governor Sule’s administration.

In furtherance of his determination to translate his ideas garnered in his 35 years of service in the private sector into public governance, the governor also established a one-stop shop Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), that is processing, regulating, managing and, driving the state’s investment initiative, through the Public Private Partnership approach in financing/funding special infrastructure or projects, especially in the areas of railway services, health, energy, water supply and roads.

According to Governor Abdullahi Sule, “we will establish systems, processes and institutions that will enhance transparency, probity and accountability in the management of state resources in line with international best practices. This is necessary to give our potential investors, both local and foreign, confidence to bring their capital and invest in Nasarawa State.”

From the forging, it is apt to say that, investment and economic development is no doubt, one of the policy thrust of Governor Sule’s administration, which aimed at exploring the investment opportunities and mineral deposits that are abound in the state. This is evident that, investment is significantly a critical instrument in the economic development agenda of this government.

Importantly, in the last three years of this administration, a lot, especially in the areas of investment and, improving governance structure and architecture has happened, and it structure gave it a prominent role in leading a rapid transformation of the state economic outlook through investment promotion, facilitation and improvement in the business environment to stimulate businesses of the state. Additionally, NASIDA which houses’ Governor’s Delivery Unit (GDU), has led coast of sectors specifics programmes targeted at improving the efficiency of government activities in the state.

Being a state christened a ‘Home of Solid Minerals’, there is no gain stating the fact that, Nasarawa is the best place in the country for investors to sink in their resources, in the efforts to harness the numerous mineral deposits and other material resources, hence why the state is attracting an increasing number of investments and investors under the watch of Governor Abdullahi Sule.

The result of such investment is seen in the number of youths employed and wealth creation among women, as the state government has since adopted an integrated employment creation strategy, whereby industrial, agricultural, commercial, vocational and other related ventures are encompassed to encourage small, medium and large scale industries to operate, aimed at developing the State.

Mindful of his background, Governor Sule put NASIDA to task, which has so far justified the essence of it establishment as seen in its operations, and has also adopted a robust investment policy, which is driving the entire investment structures in a short, medium and long term arrangements, where special support and incentive is granted to investors coming to invest in the state. It is important to note that harnessing the resources abound in the state requires PPP’s to boost private sector participation.

The recent rating by Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) in its 2021 first quarter report shows that, Nasarawa top list and surpasses its target of becoming one of the top investment destinations in the country.

The World Bank ranking also added credence to the status of the state, of being the 11th most accessible state to start and do a business in Nigeria. This is in addition of its rating in terms of infrastructure spending, favourably in its fiscal responsibility index, where Nasarawa emerge second in the North central, after Kwara state. This, no doubt, brings to pass the desire of Governor Sule to make the state a leading investment hub in the country.

Interestingly, Nasarawa State now has an interesting IGR growth profile, because most of the negotiations done with investors are speedy, with no bureaucracy from any quarter that stands on the way of such, as building an investment heaven and an economy with private sector driven dose not only requires time, but also the support of the people, and government also to ensure these investments materialised.

It is worthy to mention that, as at the time Governor Sule came on board in 2019, the state revenue profile was around N400 million monthly, and by March 2020, the state revenue has grown to about N1 billion in a month and currently, its revenue is running between N1.6 billion monthly, with an over 300% growth in IGR. This largely could be as result of the Technologically Central Billing System operating in the state, which has been used to block leakages in government business, thereby entrenching transparency in the collection of revenue.

Read also: Nasarawa to begin House-To-House monitoring for monthly sanitation

This could possibly not be achieved without the mention of some of the investors and investments that earned Nasarawa the gains in the last three years of Governor Sule’s administration. Some of which included: Olam Nigeria Ltd, Dangote integrated Sugar Refinery, Azama Nigeria Ltd, flour Mills Nigeria, Bionas Group, ABS Blueprint Consortium, Prime Global, Beacon Energy, Green Sahara, Diamond Stripes, Barlow & Barrow International Nigeria ltd among others. Aside from the aforementioned, IFAD, AFDB, World Bank among public institutions that are rapidly growing their investments for the benefit of the state and the people.

Noticeably and top among the plethora of investments that gain ground is the state are Flour Mills of Nigeria, Azman, Dangote sugar refinery where they acquire a vast lands to develop Sugar Cane Plantation in Tunga, Awe Local government, and sugar Industrial Estate in Toto Local Government Area of the State , with an investment of about three hundred million dollars. There are also line up of investors coming to invest in the Agriculture, Rice Production, Sugar Production and Cassava Production.

According to the NASIDA MD/CEO, Ibrahim Abdullahi, “revitalizing the state economic cannot be done without putting in place the fundamental framework upon which any sustainable development must be build, thereby creating an enabling environment to invite private sector who are better mangers of risk, better managers of capital and better managers of businesses to come into the state to do business. This is not just a model for the state, but a way for the new world, and a must sustainable model in developing economies all over the world.

“This is how Dubai has developed and has become the top economy destination of the world, and the private sector has always played a critical role in building those economies. This is essentially the promise that Engr. Abdullahi Sule came to Nasarawa with, under the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS).

“The creation of NASIDA is a deliberate effort of Governor to create enabling business environment for private sector and business to operate in Nasarawa State, and to encourage more investment both domestic and foreign in the state.

“It is also a critical step towards ensuring that, a sustainable institution is created for the state now and for the future.”

The agency, through the green field, PPP, privatization, concession, commercialisation of the state own assets, now has the mandate to initiate, promote, facilitate and coordinate investment in the state, and it also oversees the management of the state infrastructure funds as well as systematic coding companies for participatory in the private sector led investments.

Being a one-stop shop that is so critical in the administration of Governor Sule, the agency has tremendously improve the economics of the State, through increased private sector participation, and has expanded its mandate cutting across investment promotion, facilitation, PPP, thereby leading the delivery of the NEDS, otherwise called, Governor Sule economic plan.

In fact, for the state to further surpasses it target and to attain the peak of its development plans, there is the need to encourage more private sector participation, as private investment are extremely important, and therefore represent a key component of the state development aspirations. The role of the Government in this wise is to continually provide enabling environment and legal regulatory framework for business to operate in the state.

It is important to also note that, in the last three years, the state has recorded a closed significantly 13 ppp projects and has implemented over 8 business environment initiatives, which attracted over USD 500 million in investment, both domestic and foreign in the major sectors of the state. Also, the signing of agreement with Diamond Stripes for the Nasarawa Transport Company and concessioning of the Lafia and Karu bus terminals, concessioning of Auta-balefi Recycling Plants, and Waste Energy Projects, attracted about USD2 million in funding, both in domestic and foreign investment as well as the signing of the Pennisula Joint Venture Agreement, been the first project the government of Governor Sule entered with the private sector. This no doubt is part of the efforts to build hospitable housing clusters in the corridors of the F.C.T, Abuja.

Also, within the period under review the state government signed an agreement to develop Nasarawa Technology Village to help build and position the state as an emerging center for Digital Economy in the country, just as the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH) witnessed the concessioning of key elements and output, and the signing of 3 PPP agreements with the private sector to make DASH much more efficient and sustainable in service delivery to the people of the state.

In keying into the agricultural plan of the Federal Government, the State through it agency has signed a 60 million Dollar joint venture agreement with Silvex International, which is a local agricultural conglomerate to develop Nasarawa Agriculture Commodity (NASACO), to focus on end to end value chain agriculture production, aggregation, research and development. Hitherto to this, both the investors and NASACO went round proposed sites, where soil test was conducted in order to ascertain the suitability of the identified site for the project.

It is expected that in the coming months, the content of these robust agreements and investments will be materialised for the overall benefit of the people of the State.

At the moment, Nasarawa State has earned itself a premier and a top destination for agribusiness in the country, a first place of choice for investors to do business in the Nigeria.

Happily, in the area of security, the State Government through the support of the various security agencies in the state was able to create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive, thereby tackling cases that pose threat to realising the dream of Governor Sule piloting a sustainable and well revitalised economy.

As it stands, aside from having an investment framework and a robust and best PPP framework in the state, the Nasarawa is undoubtedly one of the most peaceful places to do business in Nigeria.