Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has assured local and international investors of high returns on investment when they tap into the rich business opportunities in the state.
The governor spoke in Lagos while delivering a lecture titled ‘Public policy and governance in Delta State: Opportunities and challenges’.
The programme was organised by the Lagos Business School in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.
In a statement by the press unit of the state government, Okowa, who was accompanied by top government officials, was quoted as saying, “With what we are doing in partnership with the Federal Government and community leaders, peace is gradually returning to the troubled Niger Delta region, and I can assure our prospective investors that we are going to have a lasting and sustainable peace in the region and that a conducive atmosphere awaits prospective investors. There are a lot of business opportunities for investors.”
According to him, the private sector has a lot to offer and is pivotal to the state’s investment drive, which seeks to significantly develop the non-oil sectors of the economy such that they will overtake oil and gas as growth drivers.
The governor stated that his administration’s vision was to make the state a pacesetter in the country by building an enduring legacy of wealth and prosperity for all through public policy imperatives geared at maximising comparative advantages of the state.
He said, “Delta state has an economy size of $24.6bn based on the Gross Domestic Product rebase of 2013, making us the fourth largest economy in the country with multiple urban centres numbering as many as 12.
“Average poverty rate based on head count is 56 per cent, lower than the national average of 62 per cent; the per capita income is calculated at about N302 or less than $2 per day while unemployment/underemployment rate stood at 27.2 per cent in 2014, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.”
In a bid to address the challenges posed by the drop in statutory allocation, Okowa said the state government developed the Delta State Medium Term Development Plan (2016-2019), a policy document that provides the road map to drive rapid infrastructural development, sustain inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, and reduce the worrisome high level of youth unemployment.
Earlier, the Dean, Lagos Business School, Dr. Enase Okonedo, who was represented by Dr. Chris Ogbechie, said the school in partnership with the NESG had a proven track record of engagement with public sector policy makers in proffering solutions to developmental challenges in Nigeria.
In a related development, Okowa attended a business dinner hosted by Prof. Pat Utomi in Lagos on Saturday.
Okowa told participants at the forum that his administration would support investments in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors in the state.
According to him, as the state moves to reduce its dependence on crude oil, his administration will strengthen the enabling environment for investments to thrive in agriculture and other sectors.
He said Asaba Airport upgrade would be ready in December to accommodate bigger airplanes and also attract more airlines into the state.
In his remark, Utomi said there were lots of untapped business opportunities in Delta State, describing the state as the next business destination.