Nasarawa State Government and the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF), have signed a Public Private Partnership for the establishment of the 450 hectares Gudi Industrial Hub, as well as a 4000-bed student’s hostel at the Nasarawa State University Keffi (NSUK).
The agreement between the two bodies were signed at a ceremony in Abuja, on Thursday.
Speaking shortly after signing the agreement, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, restated the commitment of his administration to develop the state and its people.
According to Engineer Sule, the PPP agreement with UKNIAF, was a fallout of the reforms introduced by his administration geared towards boosting the confidence of private investors, especially in the area of sustainability of project.
“In Nigeria, most times without sustainability that is how projects are killed. That is the reason why all aspects of our vision we want to back them by law so that somebody don’t just wake up tomorrow and say I don’t like this and kills it. Because people are going to invest their resources into this and they will want some level of sustainability,” he state.
The Governor explained that his experience from the Dangote Group, with investments across 14 African countries, informed the decision of his administration to back all the systems and processes established during the past four years, to be backed by law, in order to guarantee sustainability of project.
United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF), a power sector and infrastructure finance development programme funded through the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), and delivered by the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).
Sally Woolhouse, Head of Economic Development, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), said with the signing of the agreement, UKNIAF and the Nasarawa Investment Development Agency (NASIDA), will be collaborating to develop climate smart infrastructure projects and unlock critically private financing for the development of the state.
“The support is provided through the UKNIAF which is our flagship infrastructure and energy programme. It is central to the long standing partnership between the UK and Nigeria on infrastructure.
“Infrastructure is critical to economic growth and transformation. The PPP offers the opportunity to leverage that important private sector capital. No state government can do that on their own but to accelerate infrastructure development and help meet the needs of citizens,” she said.
She explained that Nasarawa State was chosen for the project mostly because of the reforms introduced by the state government under the leadership of Engineer Sule in the area of ease of doing business.
“We are very excited to be working with you given the positive context we can run a programme such as this. It’s not coincidence that those things go together. But equally we see the need for infrastructure in addressing climate change both in terms of decarbonizing the economy, also increasing resilience to impact,” Sally added.
Earlier, in an opening remarks, Prof Chidiebere Onyia, Managing Director UKNIAF, said five key reforms initiated by the Engineer Sule administration, were the catalyst that is facilitating the PPP agreement between UKNIAF and Nasarawa State.
Prof Onyia particularly mentioned the development of the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), evolving a PPP framework backed by law, with Nasarawa State among the few states to initiate the policy, establishment of NASIDA, an agency constituted beyond the state for sustainability and most significantly, establishment of Nasarawa Infrastructure Fund, as well as instituting a high-powered investment advisory council chaired by the Governor.
“These five high level processes and systems, are part of the reasons why it was not difficult for us to select Nasarawa State
“The work that we are doing with your team is something that is quite remarkable. UKNIAF, on the leadership side, we really appreciate your forthrightness, even in giving us the necessary data to begin to think about the pipelines
“One thing we have learnt over the years in engaging with some state governments and governors, is that they are not always forthright in what is not there. They paint glossy picture when we begin to dig deep, we found out that things are not there. That has not been the case with you, you have always been open. That is why we are commiting to work with Nasarawa State,” he state
Also speaking, Managing Director/CEO of Nasarawa Investment Development Agency, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the state under Engineer Sule is committed to the partnership for mutual prosperity
Abdullahi assured that, Nasarawa State will continue to have deliberate policies to ensure that when developers come to the state, communities engage with them and traditional rulers give the necessary support.