By Etuka Sunday
World business leaders are expected to grace Bayelsa investment and business forum scheduled to take place between 16th and 18th July, 2014.
The Bayelsa State Government said all arrangements have been concluded to host the global business leaders, adding that the maiden investment and economic forum has its theme as: ‘Unlocking Bayelsa State’s Economic Potentials’. Disclosing this at a press briefing in Lagos, the State Commissioner of Trade, Industry and Investment, Barrister Kemela Okara said the Forum was in line with the present administration’s economic blueprint of a private sector driven economy which he said some foreign investors were already tapping into. “Our expectation”, he said, “is that potential investors from different parts of the world, within Nigeria and Bayelsans in the Diaspora will come and take advantage of the various opportunities that exist in Agriculture, Aquaculture, Oil and Gas, ICT, Tourism and Hospitality, and Power”.
He further said that in line with the administration’s vision of making the state the Dubai of Africa the government was creating an enabling environment complete with adequate security, infrastructure and an investor-friendly legal framework. Some on-going projects which the Commissioner said would delight potential investors include the Agge Deep Seaport, the Cargo Airport, the World class diagnostics centre, a multi-billion naira 5-star hotel as well as the free trade zone the state government is planning to establish where there will be non-application of local taxation.
In the same vein, the Director General of the Bayelsa Investment Promotion Agency, Freda Murray-Bruce said that the choice of Bayelsa as host of many international events in the last two and half years evidently attests to the fact that it is the most peaceful state in the country.
Highlighting the achievements of Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the chief press secretary disclosed that the state was now generating N1billion as internally generated revenue (IGR) per month, representing about 1000 per cent increase; a figure projected to hit N6billion in the next few years. This, he noted, could only be achieved by inviting investors, both foreign and domestic, to invest. Noting the relevance of the power sector to the economy, the Specialv Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Cyril Akika disclosed that the government, in addition to the present power supply is planning to generate 3000 megawatts to boost power supply in the state.