• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Rivers economic summit: Mayor of Housing says fleeing businesses now head to PH

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…Urges Rivers to use economic summit to prepare for business expansion

A real estate investor known as the Mayor of Housing has revealed that migrant businesses and businesses fleeing from troubled parts of Nigeria are heading to Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.

My-ACE China, who is also called a real estate success strategist, has therefore urged the Rivers State government under Gov Sim Fubara to use the opportunity of the economic summit to set broad plans and strategies to receive the migrant businesses and expand the economic frontiers of the state.

The Mayor of Housing was speaking in Port Harcourt on the eve of the Rivers State Investment and Economic Summit which begins Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

He said for over 20 years, fleeing investors from the north seem to have been running mostly to Port Harcourt. “There is migration of business in Nigeria. That could be why Oyigbo is expanding steadily. Now, such threats to businesses seem to have reared their heads in Lagos to make that place a new danger zone. It is the duty of Port Harcourt to prepare land and housing to welcome migrating businesses again.”

The investor who was born and bred in Jos regretted that Agriculture is now failing in the north because of banditry, terrorism, and violence. “They can’t access fertilizer anymore but that is what Rivers state produces at Indorama. That is the difference. If you create security in Rivers State on top of other values, investors will flock in.”

On the contrary, he said the happening and projects now ongoing in Rivers State seem to make the people happy and prepare them for massive support to move the economy of the state forward.

As an active player in the real estate sector, and they say that sector is the next oil/gas, he said: “I will say the sector has a lot to contribute to the economy of Rivers State. This is because house is one of the three basic needs of man (food, shelter, clothing).

You can manage one cloth. You can’t manage hunger because its no respecter of persons. Food is land-based and so its real estate. Real estate provides competitive housing. Migration has also started in Lagos. One house is built by 35 persons but if one is demolished, you scare away 35,000 persons. More persons are coming this way.”

On the role the state government should play to boost the real estate, he said it is to first systemize the land business; put it in the system. “Meet the aboriginal owners, settle with them, register the land in the Ministry. This will remove land grabbing. As the land is changing hands, the system will keep indicating. All land being safe gives investors confidence.”

The next he said is the ease of doing business. “There should be fixed amount to be paid for certificate of occupancy and when this is done, it should not take 21 days to pick it up, without knowing the people in government. Also, the government should issue land use regulation which stipulates what you can and cannot build in any area. The governor must put people that are trusted and not involved in politics like Olusegun Obasanjo did when he put the late Prof Dora Akunyuli in charge of drugs and food (NAFDAC).”

He called for attention to the entertainment industry and said there is huge potential for agriculture beyond oil palm and cassava. “This is because river is source of wealth (fishing, leisure, etc, and the state is called Rivers State. There was Carniriv at one time.

Those days of Rex Lawson made Port Harcourt the happening centre. Companies were paying entertainers. Now, it looks like if you don’t migrate to Lagos, you won’t succeed.

“It is painful that most of the projects that others use to come first now were once started in Rivers State; power, palm kernel, monorail, airline, etc.”
After pressing the area Rivers state had advantage, China said the good news is that time has come to reverse this. “Rivers has potentials. It is time to exploit it. Some people import sand, but Rivers has the best sand which is why it had a glass industry called the West African Glass Industry.

“Those who arranged that the economic summit be discussed in Pidgin English radio station are wise because it has proved that they want to carry along all categories of business operations. It means all business people are required to understand the concept and objectives of the summit.

“Economic summit to a common man means think before you act. It means to arrange your economy well, know your areas of advantage and priority. Planning gives better results. It teaches you to put more money where you have advantage. So, the media and strategic media groups have been lined up to communicate the summit well. It’s necessary for brand building. It will help to build Rivers State economy into a brand and sell it in such a way that people will understand and assimilate it well.”