AS BYELSA DEV AND INVESTMENT CORP, (BDIC) OPENS REGIONAL OFFICE, PRESIDENT JONATHAN CALLS FOR GREATER COOPERATION AMONG AFRICA’S BIG ECONOMIES, GIVE KUDOS TO BAYELSA GOVT
President Goodluck Jonathan has called on African economies to close ranks as well as formulate policies that will attract critical investments to each other.
This, he stated would bolster the economies of the individual countries in the continent and promote stronger socio political ties among African countries.
President Jonathan stated this at the formal opening of the African regional office of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation, (BDIC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Finance, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, commended the decision of the Bayelsa State government to establish BDIC, noting that it will attract a lot of good things to the State and the country.
He however urged the Bayelsa State Governor to put performance indicators in place to regularly monitor and measure the level of success as well as justify the establishment of the African regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
President Jonathan used the occasion to explain that, the transformation agenda of the federal government has already initiated programmes to diversify the economy of the country and create jobs for its teeming youths.
According to him, apart from the nation’s film industry which has created so many job opportunities for the youths, because of its growing status as the third largest of its kind in the world, government is making investments in critical areas of the economy such as agriculture, housing as well as developing the solid mineral sectors of the economy, among others.
Also, speaking, South African President Jacob Zuma, who was represented by the country’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize expressed satisfaction with the existing political and economic ties between South Africa and Nigeria, noting the two countries have the potential to provide economic leadership for Africa.
He commended the Bayelsa State Government for establishing the BDIC regional office in South Africa, adding that it will encourage and support various efforts of the outfit to attract investments to Nigeria to boost the economy of both countries.
Earlier in his remarks, Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson had explained that the establishment of the BDIC was an expression of government’s determination to broaden and diversify the base of the state’s economy by investing in critical areas like tourism, agriculture and the maritime sector, among others.
He said, it is also the conviction of government that, its investments in key areas of the economy coupled with agressive and purpoesful drive by the BDIC will attract the needed investors from strong economies of the world to Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa State Chief Executive noted that, with BDIC’s presence in a strong economy like South Africa, the enormous potentials of the State will be better propagated for investments to flow in both directions to the overall benefit of the government and people of Bayelsa State, especially in the post oil era.
“With BDIC here, the Bayelsa story will be told the way we want it to be told. Going forward, we are here to set up this office, the first of its kind in our country, knowing the strength of the South African economy and it is my hope and prayer that within the level of political cooperation, governments in Africa will formulate policies that will create wealth and spread prosperity among our people and nations”
According to him, the establishment of the BDIC is Bayelsa’s modest contribution to what should be Africa’s collective endeavour to promote and stregthen economic cooperations and create wealth and spread prosperity among its people.
Governor reiterated the endless potentials and opportunities abound in the State and called on investors in South Africa, other parts of Africa and the world to take advantage of the conducive investment climate in the State.
“Bayelsa is ready for investment. And, it is to its endless potentials that and opportunities that I invite you all to come and invest in. First of all, the business community South Africa should come to Bayelsa State and take advantage of the crop of endless potentials and possibilities that are abound”
In his opening remarks, Deputy Managing Director of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation, Mr Tamunoye Alazigha, had enumerated the task before BDIC to include attracting investors from all major markets and economies around the world, chart a diversified economic base, protect, stimulate and grow the wealth of all Bayelsans through responsive and sustainable investments that will turn the State to one of the top five state economies in Nigeria and Africa.
The high point of the well attended ceremony was the cutting of the tape and unveiling of plaque to formally launch the BDIC African regional office, which was performed by Governor Dickson, supported by the representatative of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Professor Mkhize and Nigeria’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, High Chief Edem Duke.