• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Private sector can drive economy- Gov Sule

Nasarawa approves over N30bn for rural, urban renewal projects

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has identified the private sector as the key driver of the country’s economic development.

Sule, who spoke as a special guest at the second edition of the Nigeria Employers’ Summit, in Abuja, on Monday, said the private sector was the largest employer of labour and Nigeria’s bigger driver of economic development.

The theme of the summit was “Trade and non-oil export: Changing the narratives for rapid national development”.

The governor, who shared from his experience from the organised private sector, commended President Ahmed Tinubu for starting on the right foot, and stressed that, with Nigerians supporting the president, he will be able to translate his vision for the country.

“There is no doubt about it; until we understand that the private sector is the biggest employer of labour and biggest driver of economic development, we will continue to have issues,” Sule said.

He described the theme as apt, saying the Nigerian Economic Summit Group should be commended for their efforts in bringing together key economic players – investors, entrepreneurs, members of the diplomatic corps, to dialogue on government and private sector, to find ways for Nigeria’s economy.

“Today, people are running away from material-driven economy to knowledge- driven economy. Oil is known mostly as material-driven, even though we are so proud and excited that we have oil discovery, we are so excited about it, but people are running away from fossil fuel these days and going into clean energy.

“Why I am excited being here is because I am here to encourage you that you are on the right track. The economy must be driven by you these days, even by young people.

“People who are coming up with new ideas here and there, you find people with experiences who can support them, guide them, and give them some of their experiences. But some of the experiences of yesterday will not apply today,” Sule noted.

The governor used the opportunity of the event to showcase the potentials of Nasarawa State and particularly what his administration has been doing to encourage private investors to come in and invest in the mining sector.

Read also: Reps to probe alleged 14-yr power outage in Ondo

“Nasarawa is a state known mainly for mining. Mining is not oil. That is why at every opportunity that I have, I want to promote Nasarawa State. The reason is because Nigeria is so blessed with these opportunities of mining, and yet we are not even looking at that because of the oil and gas.

“Before I came, I discovered that a lot of what we have been mining in Nasarawa State were being taken out, including as simple as marble and granite. They were taken out to go and be processed somewhere.

“And we started talking to some of these Chinese and the rest of that. Some of them now realise that they cannot continue to take our products outside.

“Today, I am proud to say that in Nasarawa State, we have a company that is mining granite but producing the marbles and tiles in Nasarawa State. They are not taking it anywhere. If you go to the new Abuja airport, the new terminals, and you also go to the new terminals at Lagos airport, the tiles came from Nasarawa State.

“We are no longer importing tiles because we can’t be importing stones into our country. A few days back, for some of you, you probably have seen it in the news, lithium has moved from seven thousand dollars per ton all the way to 78 thousand dollars per ton. The reason is because lithium today is the main product for all the batteries including solar.

“Nigeria is so blessed with a huge percentage of lithium. Unfortunately, we are taking the raw materials from Nigeria outside.

“Again, we encouraged another company. The company has come to Nasarawa and they are coincidentally in Nasarawa town and they are mining lithium and they are constructing a company to be able to process 3000 tonnes of lithium a day.

“By the time they complete this exercise, they are going to be producing at least one million tonnes a day of finished product in Nigeria.

“These are the kinds of things we are talking about in various places. We are happy because we no longer import rice as we used to. In the past, we used to import everything so the FX is not there ” he stated.

Governor Sule lamented the high exchange rate being experienced, saying it is mostly as a result of the inability to drive the country’s economy properly, and urged the organisers of the event to carry out frank discussions so that at the end of the day participants at the summit can drive Nigeria’s economy.