2. His Excellency, my Colleague, Godwin Obaseki, Executive Governor of Edo State;
3. His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State;
4. The Right Honourable Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly;
5. The Honourable Chief Judge of Nasarawa State;
6. Principal Officers and Members of the State House of Assembly;
7. Members of the State Executive and Security Councils;
8. The Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State;
9. The President of the Dangote Group of Company, Alh. Aliko Dangote;
10. The Head of the Civil Service;
11. His Royal Highness, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad I, JSC (Rtd), Emir of Lafia and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs;
12. His Royal Highness, Mallam Sunusi Lamido Sunusi, Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria;
13. The State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC);
14. Special Advisers;
15. Permanent Secretaries;
16. Senior Special Assistants;
17. Chairmen and Chief Executives of Commissions, Boards and Parastatals;
18. Executive Chairmen of Local Government Councils and Overseers of Development Areas present;
19. Captains of Industries;
20. Other Development Partners;
21. Your Royal Highnesses, Emirs and Chiefs;
22. Gentlemen of the Press;
23. Ladies and gentlemen.
It is with a sense of fulfillment and responsibility that I address you today on the occasion of a 2-day Nasarawa Investment Summit, taking place here in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State.
2. Let me specially welcome His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, the former President of the Republic of Ghana to Nasarawa State. Similarly, I warmly welcome my colleague, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, Executive Governor of Edo State to this all-important occasion. In the same vein, I welcome the President, Dangote Group, Alh. Aliko Dangote to this historic event. I also welcome His Royal Highness, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the 14th Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to this auspicious occasion.
3. I must acknowledge the presence of other distingushed business moguls and development partners, who are here to be part of this occasion. I have no doubt that the coming together of these celebrated and eminent personalities will, no doubt offer us the opportunity to continue to map the future of our economic landscape, with renewed vigor in order to further explore business opportunities that abound in the State and forge investment partnerships in the Agricultural and Solid Minerals sectors of the State economy.
4. Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the theme of this Summit is “Diamond in the Rough: The Making of a New Investment Frontier”. The theme was deliberately coined in line with the vision and philosophy of the present Administration, geared towards driving the State economy for socio-economic development.
5. The Summit is, therefore, aimed at positioning Nasarawa State in the investment destination amongst the top three (3) most competitive States in Nigeria by 2023 in terms of accelerated growth, increased economic opportunities, social inclusion and improved quality of life of citizenry. It is also aimed at promoting investment opportunities and fostering synergy, as well as partnerships between Government institutions and private sector actors, who are critical players in the socio-economic development of society.
6. It is pertinent to state that, as a State, we have been very deliberate in stimulating our economy, building human capacities, creating wealth and generating employment in the State. It is for this reason that when we assumed office in 2019, we constituted the Economic Investment Advisory Council, headed by Prof. Konyisola Ajayi (SAN) and other respectable Members both within and outside the country, with the objective of providing strategic advice and support to Government in promoting economic development and attracting investment into the State. I am happy to inform you that the recommendation of the Council has resulted to the development of the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS) and subsequent establishment of the Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency (NASIDA), under which auspices we are gathered here today, as well as the enactment and signing into law of the Nasarawa Public Procurement Law toward ensuring transparency, accountability and prudent management of public resources.
7. Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the implementation of the NEDS is already reflecting in not just improved outcomes in key areas, but also in terms of developmental impacts of the State. This is evident in the significant increase in our Internally Generated Revenue by 49% in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and we are already on track to surpass that of 2020. It is important to state that an independent evaluation platform (Kingmaker) has also showed that Nasarawa State moved from 24th position in 2016 to 12th position in 2020 in terms of standard of living of the citizens. This is based on the fact that our ease of doing business and investment promotion have also attracted over USD $500 Million investment into key sectors in the State within the last three years.
8. In line with the NEDS document, we have also attracted investments from Dangote Group, Azman Rice Ltd., Flour Mills of Nig. Plc., as well as the utilization of our various assets, including markets, Fertilizer Blending Plants and Packaging Company in Akwanga, among others. Similarly, through our NEDS initiative, we have allocated 5% of our monthly revenue to infrastructure fund as savings base for the State, as well as de-risking private sector investment. We have also sanitized our Public Financial Management Space, whereby, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) accounts are now frequently audited and published. More so, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework now guided our budgetary process.
9. Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, as part of efforts to improve the standard of living of our people, especially during the pandemic, the Government of Nasarawa State evolve measures by galvanizing stakeholders through Covid-19 Economic Response Strategy, with a view to set out a clear path for recovery, growth and sustainability of the Nasarawa Economy.
10. I must acknowledge that this Summit assembled very experienced and tested financial, investment and economic gurus that would assist the State in attracting investment and providing the needed direction for us to follow to galvanize growth and development our dear State.
11. As a Government we are looking forward to the resolution of this summit for implementation. I wish us all a hitch-free Summit.
12. Thank you and may God bless us all.