Gov Otu Markets C-River To Diplomatic Community, Investors

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  • Unveils opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, oil and gas sectors
Participants at the ‘Executive Governor’s Roundtable’

BY EDMOND ODOK – Governor Bassey Otu says Cross River State remains an evergreen investment destination for the diplomatic community and development partners to explore and build robust partnerships toward sustainable socio-economic benefits for all stakeholders.

Consequently, he said prospective investors should embrace and take full advantage of investment opportunities available in agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, hospitality as well as oil and gas sectors of the State economy.
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Governor Otu, who spoke at the first “Executive Governor’s Roundtable” organised by the State government in Abuja on Tuesday, said the Forum was the first in a series of engagements planned by the State to build strong collaborative ties with the diplomatic community and development partners towards a mutually beneficial long-term future.

According to him, the Roundtable’s theme; “Building Cooperation for a Better Today and Resilient Future”, resonates with his administration’s ‘People First’ mantra that seeks to put the people at the forefront of the State’s developmental agenda, adding that the government would not relent in aggressively showcasing the attractive investment opportunities across various sectors in the state.

The governor further said given that the economies of the world are growing in interconnectedness due to globalisation, it has made for increased wealth creation, opportunities, and fluidity in investment and cooperation funds meant for development purposes.

Expressing his administration’s readiness to position the State economy to benefit maximally from this increased liquidity within the global corridor, Prince Otu said; “Cross River State, also known as the People’s Paradise, is home to a constantly evolving economy with a strong history as one of the most flourishing states, original trade and diversified economies, based on abundant resources, with a strong commitment towards sustainable economic environment and social development”.

For him, the State’s fast-growing economy is a function of its “strategic location with arable land suitable for a variety of crops; vast deposits of various solid minerals, beautiful mountains, and forests, hospitable people with their reputation as one of the safest places to work.”

Further marketing the State’s huge investment potential to his audience, Governor Otu said; “We are building on these strategic advantages towards making the State a hotspot for tourism and businesses, with the annual Calabar Carnival, tagged as the biggest Street Party in Africa, hosting hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world.

Gov Otu addressing participants

“The State has opportunities for cooperation which cuts across sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare, social development, education, social development, humanitarian services, agribusiness, commerce, industry, manufacturing, solid minerals, oil and gas, and hospitality.”

In his speech at the event, The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri G. Balasubramanian, said India and Nigeria have relations dating back to 1958, noting that the South Asian country currently has over 155 companies operating in Nigeria with one of them actively involved in the development of the near-comatose TINAPA economic zone.

Balasubramanian also hinted about interest from some business groups in India on the prospects of land acquisition on lease for developing agricultural products in Nigeria, assuring that Cross River State would certainly enjoy priority consideration when such projects materialise.

Similarly, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman, said his country is ready to partner with Cross River State in various sectors, including drip irrigation and rice farming among others in which they have developed expertise, adding; “Israel stands ready to work with Cross River State to address shared challenges that lie ahead by embracing innovation, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose.”

Maintaining that robust partnership between the State and Israel is a welcome and productive development, Mr. Freeman stated thus; “We can create a more sustainable, secure, and prosperous future” for both sides from this proposed collaboration.

Representatives of the State at the Forum who also highlighted the various investment opportunities, included the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Public-Private Partnership and Infrastructure, Dr Francis Ntamu, and a lawmaker, Hon. Victor Abang representing Boki/Ikom State constituency.

Addressing issues around the much-touted Deep Sea project, Dr Ntamu said all efforts are being geared towards ensuring it finally sees the light of day, assuring thus; ”Everything about the Bakassi Deep-Sea Port has changed positively from the point of view that for the first time, we have seen in graphic terms programme and projects continuity post-administration.

“The administration was able to adopt all that it met, the baseline understanding is that these are public funds. We are excited that as an administration, we are taking a look at state-owned assets such as Tinapa, taking a look at Obudu International Cargo Airport, and then seeing to its actualisation even within the first term of this administration and the same energy for the Bakassi Deep Sea Port which I hope on the next two weeks we should be able to get some strategic communication with the state “.

Also aligning his thoughts on the State government’s vision, Assemblyman Victor Abang expressed confidence that something positive would come out of the interests and partnerships being proposed by the Ambassadors and Head of Missions of countries like India, Norway, Belgium, Israel, and Canada that participated in the Roundtable.

Meanwhile, the Cross River State Commissioner for Information, Hon Erasmus Ekpang, who spoke with journalists on the sidelines of the Roundtable, said the current administration is engaging in meaningful actions to turn around the State’s economic fortunes in the nearest future.

Stating that the Roundtable presented the 4th similar summit already held by the Governor Otu-led administration with others being economic and energy Forums, Ekpang said the government would not relent in applying necessary pressure to ensure prospective investors are committed to any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they enter into with the State government.

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