ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government and the State of New Jersey in the United States of America have resolved to tap into mutually beneficial business opportunities in the two states.
Governor Douye Diri, who led Bayelsa delegation to the US to seek investment opportunities and possible collaboration with some key institutions in New York and New Jersey presented his economic initiatives to the the Secretary of State, Ms. Tahesha Way.
Way represented New Jersey Governor, Mr. Philip Murphy, at an economic meeting in Trenton, New Jersey capital, a statement by Diri’s Director, New Media, Dr. Kola Oredipe, said on Saturday.
Governor Diri noted that both Bayelsa and the State of New Jersey had similar coastal terrain, saying his administration was desirous to understudy key models of infrastructural development in the American state for the good of Bayelsa State.
He informed his host that the Bayelsa State delegation had met with Donald Milford Payne Jr., top US Congressman representing New Jersey, members of the African American Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey, visited Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Ricovr biolaboratory, an arm of the Princeton University, New Jersey, that is developing cutting-edge saliva diagnostic technology to seek partnership and support.
According to Diri, Bayelsa State is seeking partnership in the development of Bayelsa Medical University (BMU) in Yenagoa, exchange programmes for students, investments in renewable energy, and broadband technology to improve connectivity.
The governor said: “We are here to seek further opportunities for the growth of our country and our dear State of Bayelsa. Bayelsa State is the golden egg of the country where crude oil was first struck in commercial quantities.
“But today, we are all aware that oil is almost given way. We are richer in natural gas deposits and that is a great source for cleaner energy that the world seeks. We are looking for investors in this area.
“In the area of health, we have a young medical university, we have been looking for opportunities for programmes exchange, modelling our curriculum to suit modern medical technology, opportunities like this to see other institutions that will collaborate with us. This is a massive opportunity.”
Ms. Way, who presented a letter of welcome personally signed by Governor Murphy to Senator Diri, appreciated the genuine intention of the Bayelsa Governor to attract investments opportunities to his state.
She assured Diri that the government in New Jersey would be willing to help mobilise investors to identify opportunities in Bayelsa State.
Also, Mr. Victor Lawrence, a Senior Research Scientist at Stevens Institute of Technology and an expert in Broadband technology, said Brass Island in Bayelsa State had been identified as a great location to site a landing station for telecoms submarine cables that would be commercially rewarding to the oil-rich state.
The Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa State Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investments, Barrister Patience Abah, said the delegation was excited at the huge opportunities at the various facilities visited and that a technical team from the state would immediately explore the opportunities so far identified.
The Consul-General, Nigerian Consulate in New York, Ambassador Lot Egopija, had accompanied Governor Douye Diri, to most of the meeting and visits in the US.