Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has commended Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule for his vision and unshaken political will, to rapidly industrialize the state.
The Vice President made the commendation while delivering his keynote address during the opening ceremony of the two-day Nasarawa Investment Summit 2020, holding at the late Aliyu Akwe Doma Bequeath Hall.
While acknowledging the theme of the summit, “Nasarawa Diamond in the Rough”, Osinbajo noted that Nasarawa State has tremendous potentials especially in agriculture and mining that would however require polishing in order to shine.
He equally identified the state’s proximity to the FCT as another potential for generation of internal revenue from personal income tax of workers residing in Nasarawa State but work in Abuja.
The Vice President attributed the success of the event to the vision and unequivocal political will of Engineer Sule and his team.
“This is absolutely crucial and we have seen that demonstrated in the clarity of vision and the determination to get things done. The Governor has cast a vision early in the life of the administration in the following words, ‘To re-engineer Nasarawa State for rapid industrialization’,” he stated.
Osinbajo commended the Governor for initiating reforms through the instrument of the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), that sets out a range of reforms covering central billing system and ease of doing business, which led to the establishment of the Nasarawa Investment Development Agency (NASIDA).
The Vice President particularly noted that, the central billing system, dramatically boosted the IGR of the state from N12.48bn in 2020 to N20.8bn in 2022, in spite of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, while Nasarawa State remains one of the few states that saw the need to enact its own procurement act.
He also applauded the reforms in land administration in the state, which makes land acquisition faster and serves as encouragement to investors.
In a goodwill message, President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, described the as important and necessary requirement to a state that is committed to promote enabling socio-economic development, as well as improve the quality of lives of their citizenry.
Dangote commended Engineer Sule for providing the necessary enabling environment for the investment summit to achieve its goals.
He noted that these enablers include, providing committed and focused leadership and well thought out institutional framework that enables the creation of sustainable conducive business and investment climate.
Dangote equally pointed out developing not only a credible, comprehensive development plan identifying investment opportunities and projects but backing these up with supportive public policies and regulations that make these investment opportunities competitive.
“Here is the good news, I can say with confidence that Nasarawa State has in place all the three requirements that promises to guarantee the attainment of the goals of this summit.
“First, I can say, with all humility, that the state has the leadership with the vision and commitment to achieve it,” he said.
He described Engineer Sule as one of the visionary leaders that made the success of the Dangote Group possible.
“As the GMD then of Dangote Sugar Plc, he has proven this by positioning Dangote Sugar in the top tier of stock in the Nigerian Stock Exchange as the leading sugar company in Nigeria and also Africa,” Dangote stated.
On his part, former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, delivered another keynote address titled: “Building for the African Continent: Lessons from the Ghanaian Economy”, where he shared some key thoughts on how Nasarawa State can proceed, with the benefit of hindsight, with its investment plan and implementation milestones.
Delivering his speech at the event, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the investment summit will afford his administration the opportunity to continue to strategize on the future of the state’s economic fortune with vigor.
Engineer Sule said the event will further provide the state government the opportunity to explore business opportunities that abound in the state, as well as forge investment partnerships in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors of the economy.
“The summit is, therefore, aimed at positioning Nasarawa State in the investment destination amongst the top three most competitive states in Nigeria by 2023, in terms of accelerated growth, increased economic opportunities, social inclusion and improved quality of life of citizenry,” he stated.
The Governor added that, the summit is also aimed at promoting investment opportunities and fostering synergy, as well as partnerships between government institutions and private sector actors, who are critical players in the socio-economic development of society.
Engineer Sule acknowledged that the summit brought together experienced and tested financial, investment and economic experts that would assist the state in attracting investment and providing the needed direction for his administration to follow, in order to galvanize growth and development.
Other speakers that spoke at the event include, HRH Muhammad Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano, Dr. Mansur Muthar, Vice President, Islamic Development Bank, Professor Konyisola Ajayi, Chairman, organizing committee for the summit, Chief Judge of Nasarawa State, Hon. Justice Aisha Bashir and Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, SA to the President on Ease of Doing Business.
Others are, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress and first executive governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and immediate past governor of the state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura.
One of the two plenary sessions held during the opening day, titled: “Opportunity Collaborating for growth: A discussion on how Sub-Nationals can utilize their shared strengths, chaired by A. B Okauru ESQ, Director General, Nigerian Governors Forum, has Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki as a panelist.