Sony Neme, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has appealed to foreign investors to tap the economic potentialities of the state beyond its depleting oil resources.
Governor Diri, who spoke late Tuesday at one of the closing sessions of the Dubai Expo 2020 at the picturesque Dubai Exhibition Centre in the United Arab Emirates, said Bayelsa is an amazing state with several investment opportunities waiting to be harnessed.
The Bayelsa governor who spoke by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, from Dubai said the state, created in 1996, seeks investors to develop its agricultural potential with comparative advantage in rice, cassava, plantain, sugarcane, oil palm production as well as in fisheries and aquaculture.
According to Diri: “It is my special pleasure to introduce to you what I sincerely describe as an opportunity of a lifetime; to come invest in amazing Bayelsa State.
“We know that investment is key to attaining the lofty socio-economic goals that will sustain our youths or alleviate the poverty that still challenges significant numbers of our people.
He further said, “We are taking the necessary steps with our Strategic State Development Plan, SSDP, of integrating the private sector in our development and growth agenda as well as ensuring that the structures and policies are competitive and in tandem with international best practice.”
“Actions already taken have put the state on a positive trajectory, stating that a recent Ease-of-Doing Business report rated Bayelsa highest in the South-South region as well as being adjudged as one of the safest states to do business in the country.
“Our state is one of the leading producers of oil and gas in Nigeria. There is however much more to Bayelsa than its abundant oil and gas deposits.
These include but are not limited to agriculture, where our arable land gives us comparative advantage in the production of rice, cassava, sugarcane, oil palm and plantain.
“In the area of tourism, with our lush mangrove forests and natural beaches, we have humongous unexploited opportunities to make the state a tourists’ paradise.
“Apart from captive fishery, which has done particularly well in our clime, our extensive coastline is also suitable for commercial fishing and for power generation ranging from wind to tidal and solar energy,” he also assured.
He also added that his administration was continuing with the construction of a deep-sea port, he further assured investors of erasing any form impediments that would constrain their ability and investments.
Governor Diri who also held meetings with the UAE Minister of Economy, the country’s ambassador to Nigeria as well as representatives of the Saudi Arabia Fund for Development.
He said, “We have a significant infrastructure deficit and it is our hope that investors will see the value to partner with us to expand the scope of our development
“We want investors to partner with the state and explore its rich mangrove forests and natural beaches to make it a tourists’ haven.
“Bayelsa’s sprawling coastline, which is the longest in Nigeria, provided vast opportunities for power generation ranging from wind to tidal and solar energy.”, the Governor further stated.
The Dubai Expo 2020, which ends on March 31, attracted exhibitors and participants from over 190 countries, including 14 states from Nigeria.
Other Nigerian governors present were Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).
Also in attendance were Solomon Lalong (Plateau), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger) and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State.
Sokoto, Yobe, Cross River and Enugu also participated at the event.