The hope of the non-oil sectors in Nigeria rose high in Washington DC today as the Governors of Nasarawa, Kaduna and Ekiti States, Mr.Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Patrick Yakowa and Kayode Fayemi joined Nigeria's Ministers and others to woo United States investors into the sectors.
First to address American investors at the ongoing US-Nigeria Infranstructure Conference in Washington was Nasarawa state governor, Mr. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who said that his state would do everything to provide an enabling environment for foreign investors to do their businesses in the state.
Wooing investors into the Power Sector of his state, Governor Al-Makura said that 40MW Farin Ruwa hydro IPP is almost completed and available for Public-Private Partnership in the state, adding that River Mada can also generate 100MW of hydro power.
He invited investors to join hands with his government to develop the power sector of Nasarawa State, stressing that the state has the potential to generate 145MW of Solar Power and other renewable energy like winds, geothermal and biomass.
On transportation, the governor said: "Transportation is the backbone that can boost business activities in the state, stating that 3200KM state roads are available for construction. 200Km by-pass from Nasarawa to Abuja i.e. Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Plateau states. Also we have 500KM of arteria roads in proposed 6 districts of Karu"
Briefing investors on Solid Minerals, Governor Al-Makura noted that Nasarawa State is the home of Solid Minerals, adding that the state has got more than 70 Solid minerals during the last count.
He pressed further by asking investors to invest in Agriculture in Nasarawa state and as well said that the state has over 200,000 hecters of arable land available for rice farming. He noted that lands are available for such investors to cultivate other crops.
On environment, the governor hinted that the state has incentives for investors in the areas of land resources, prompt issuance of land title, fast track establishment of business, tax holiday, and guarantee security of life and investment.
He said that Nasarawa is very secured for foreign investors from the United States of America and other foreign countries to do their businessess, adding that his administration would create an enabling environment for them and as well give them all the necessary support.
Al-Makura concluded that it would be a thing of pride for Nasarawa if investors could come and make impacts in all the sectors so that the state could be part of the Vision 20:2020 and the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonatthan.
Also speaking was Kaduna State governor, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, who said that investors would be interested in the population of his state.
Governor Yakowa who was represented by the state Commissioner for Rural and Community Development, Mr. Isah Idris Umar, said that his administration has provided an abundance of skilled and semi-skilled labour in an effort to make Kaduna state an enabling environment for business.
The governor continued that his government is creating investment opportunities for high class investors, stressing that he is also working on peace, security, qualitative education, civil service reform, and improved health care.
Wooing investors in the Energy Sector, Yakowa said that Kaduna state is aspiring to be the hub of power, collaborating with the Ministry of Water Resources under concessioning scheme to manage and operate the Gurara Dam/ Plant- already generating 30MW of power.
The governor who promised that Kaduna state would work with the federal government on the already stated 215MW Power Project at Kaduna industrial areas like Kudende, also invited to support his state to generate and distribute power in all the areas required.
On Water Management, transportation and Information Technology, Governor Yakowa said: "The state has provided drinkable water in all the areas in the state. We have done the Zaria Regional Water Supply Extension. We want you to come and invest in the transportation infrastructure of Kaduna State in order to compliment the efforts of the state government"
"We have embarked on the construction of 699KM of rural roads. As regards ICT, we want to bridge the digital divide and to as well be one of the world's hub of Communication and Technology"
In his own presentation, Ekiti state governor, Mr. Kayode Fayemi who was represented by his Special Adviser on Infrastructure, Mr. Kayode Jegede, said that the government of Ekiti state has the priorities in the areas of education, tourism and agriculture, imploring foriegn investors to assist the state in these sectors.
"The state has a good soil so i want foreign investors to come and invest in the agriculture sector" he noted.
Governor Fayemi pressed further that his administration has invested a lot in electricity, bringing power to all the towns in the state.
On Water Sector, the Governor said that his administration has achieved a lot by providing drinkable water for all and sundry with the help of the multiple surface water that the government had processed and transfered to the consumers.
"His words: "We want you to come and invest in the Water Sector of Ekiti state because we have created the chance for private investors to come and participate"
"Infrastructure enables the economy to grow and this allows the people to live the kind of life they want to live. There is a lot of opportunities in Ekiti State infrastructure so we are calling you to participate in this sector"
However, in an interview with our correspondent, Chief Temitope Ajayi, the Founder/CEO of Nigerian American Agricultural Empowerment program (NAAEP), lauded the efforts President Goodluck Jonathan who supported the event which she called an eye-opener for Nigerians to do a lot of things that will drive foreign investors to the country.
She said: "We just need to be very patient in order to achieve the goals. The combination of the powerful presentations by various speakers is a success today and they are overwhelming.
Mrs Ajayi also lauded the Nigeria's Ambassador to the US, Professor Ade Adefuye, for all he is doing to ensure a deep relationship between Nigeria and the United States.
On this, the NAAEP boss said: "This is the third conference of this kind that the Ambassador has initiated this year in the United States and they are turning out to be a huge success. I can see that foreign investors will turn in and invest in the non-oil sectors in Nigeria, especially in the area of agriculture because this is a very important area in human's life"
"Look at what happened at this event today, we can tell from the faces of all the American investors. Everybody is happy and they have been promising to go to Nigeria to invest. We all have to go back and invest especially in agriculture. Everything they have been saying since the begining of this programme all centers around agriculture"
"We have different types of agriculture, water irrigation agriculture, land agriculture, there is nothing they have said here today that did not entangle with agriculture and as Nigeria's success story in agriculture, you can see how happy i am. I am so proud and i believe that sky is the limit for my country. I congratulate our President and all his cabinet membes because they are a round peg in a round hole.
Also speaking with our correspondent was Mrs Linda Oyewopo, the National Coordinator of the National Council of Women Society, Nigeria who said lauded all the ministers, governors, participants especially Ambassador Ade Adefuye for the way they had presented Nigeria to American investors as a place they can do gainful businesses.
Mrs Oyewopo added that she was sure that the US-Nigeria Infrastructure Conference would bring positive changes to Nigeria's infranstructure, stressing that investors now have the confidence in Nigeria and they are ready to do their businesses without of fears of being killed or maimed.
She said: "The success is not going to happen in a day but i think if can have more of this summit, things will change gradually"