Inaugural Summit: Engineer Sule’s Quest To Turn Nasarawa Into Nigeria’s Investment Frontier
By Ali Abare
In a few days time, precisely from the 11th to 12th of May, Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, will become a beehive of activities as it hosts world class business leaders, as well as hordes of investors, during the state’s inaugural investment summit.
This event which has been in the pipeline, is no fluke but a manifestation of the commitment by Engineer Abdullahi Sule administration, to open up the state to investors, with a view to exploiting the God given potentials of the state, particularly in the areas of agriculture and mining, two sectors Nasarawa State can be attested to have comparative advantage.
If leadership can be defined as the ability to put ones beliefs and values into actions and goals and making these a vision that can be shared by others, then of course, there is no gainsaying the fact that, Engineer Sule is a paragon of effective leadership.
Having identified Nasarawa State as a diamond in the rough, Engineer Sule, since the inception of his administration, has left no stone unturned, in his determination to put the enabling business environment in place for private investors to leverage on the abundant natural and human resources in the state for maximum economic benefits.
Since inception, the Engineer Sule administration has continued to execute policies and programmes aimed at evolving Nasarawa State into the country’s new investment frontier, establishing a Public Private Partnership framework that will facilitate private sector participation in a sustainable manner.
Even though it’s generally agreed that everyone has the potential to lead, however not every leader can be so unique as to inspire the people, most especially through horned professionalism, hard work and determination. Engineer Sule possesses an abiding courage to face the unknown and the uncharted path, with sight focused on the anticipated outcome which will see Nasarawa State berth on the land of growth, development and prosperity.
In this respect, the administration has taken concrete and deliberate steps to create the enabling environment that will attract investors into the state. Some of these measures include signing the Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency Bill 2020 and the Nasarawa State Mortgage and Foreclosure Bill.
“Without these laws, it would be very difficult to be able to invite a lot of investors, who are serious about investment, who understand what investment is, who understands what it takes for resolutions of all kinds of issues that come as a result of investment,” Engineer Sule has said while appending his signature to the documents.
According to the Governor, the Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency, will facilitate the establishment of a one stop shop for all kinds of investments, where government will assist investors towards realizing their vision.
“Once you are there, they will do the run around for you. And you tell them what type of investment it is, registration of your company, understanding your taxes, what kind of benefits you will have, what kind of wavers that are going to be available to you. What does it take for you to acquire land, what does it take to get your documentations, what is there to get your C of O,” he stated.
According to Engineer Sule, the mortgage and foreclosure law, on the other hand, will promote liquidity.
“For housing, it’s going to fast track the process of creating all the legal issues on mortgages and the issue of timely resolution of all kinds of disputes that are likely to happen,2 Engineer Sule said.
On his part the MD NMRFC, Kehinde Ogundimu, described the event as a milestone not only for Nasarawa State but the country as a whole, adding that the signing of the two bills into law is the laying of a solid foundation for investments and greater things that will come to the state.
“There is a direct correlation between legal framework and amount of investments you have in a state. Now that we have the legal framework, we will not relent in attracting investment to Nasarawa State,” Ogundimu said.
Also, in his opening remarks during the event, then Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment and Economic Planning and presently MD/CEO of NASIDA, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said industrialization or investment can happen in a sustainable way only through the creation of enabling legal and regulatory frameworks.
“This is the promise of Engineer Abdullahi Sule as enshrined in the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), to create a private sector led and competitive economy for our state,” the SA said.
As a further step to make this vision a reality, the Engineer Sule administration is about to host the inaugural Nasarawa Investment Summit that will serve as a platform to present credible and bankable investment opportunities that are market-ready for investor engagement.
In a promotional statement ahead of the summit, NASIDA pointed out that Nasarawa State has shown great promise over the years by overcoming numerous roadblocks as the state inches towards her vision of becoming Nigeria’s top investment powerhouse.
“As a State, we have been very deliberate about stimulating our economy, building our people’s productive capacities, and creating wealth and jobs for them. This is the basis of the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS) (2019 – 2023), which is a testament to our collective commitment to implement a practicable economic transformation strategy for the State, as promised during our campaign. It is founded on a vision to sustain accelerated growth of the Nasarawa economy driven by the private sector and translating this to a clear improvement in citizens’ lives and the achievement of other key development outcomes,” the statement added.
Thus, the investment summit, according to NASIDA, will also foster a closer collaboration and partnership between the private sector and the government in building a stronger business environment. With participants from diverse backgrounds from across the globe, this is a platform to engage with Government and Business leaders to invest and do business in Nasarawa State.
“The Nasarawa Investment Summit 2022 is a strategic matchmaking platform that will bring together stakeholders from across the Nigerian investment ecosystem to facilitate partnerships and investments in opportunities that will be on showcase,” the NASIDA MD said.
Ibrahim explained that his agency is pleased to host the inaugural investment summit, that is expected to build and enhance private sector involvement in good governance and policy making, especially as it involves the delivery of the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), and also provide an inclusive platform and methodology that promotes the participation of all key stakeholders in NEDS implementation.
While the event will facilitate the identification of impediments, obstacles to investments in Nasarawa from the perspectives of governments, investors, international finance institutions, and businesses, it will also serve as a vehicle to showcase multi-sectoral project-specific opportunities available to investors in the state.
The inaugural investment summit will equally inform ongoing efforts to facilitate technology development and transfer of technology to Nasarawa, attract investment from local and foreign investors to facilitate projects and programs that will unlock sustainable socio-economic development of Nasarawa, as well as form development partnerships with the public and private sector that will stimulate production and have a developmental impact across the state.
That the first business summit is taking place in Nasarawa State, is a manifestation of the undaunted spirit and determination of the Engineer Abdullahi Sule administration to change the narrative and to inspire followership through exceptional leadership.
Indeed and as John Quincy Adams posited, Engineer Sule is a paragon of effective leadership because his actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more.
Abare is a Special Assistant on Media to the Governor of Nasarawa State.