Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson has received a 16 man delegation from Houston, Texas led by Mr. Val Thompson, President Houston International Trade and Development Council.
The delegation, which is in the country to explore trade and investment opportunities, was accompanied by the Consul General of Nigeria in Atlanta, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe.
Ambassador Geoffrey, commended Governor Seriake Dickson for the practical steps taken to develop the Agricultural, Infrastructural as well as oil and gas sectors and pledged his commitment to fast-tracking investments in those sectors.
Describing Bayelsa State as the biggest producer of oil and gas both in the upstream and downstream sectors in the country, he posited that several aspects of the State needs to be developed.
According to him, Bayelsa like other States in the country requires massive foreign investment in Agriculture, Healthcare, Education and Infrastructure to enable it compete favourably at the global arena.
The Consular General, who was full of gratitude for Governor Dickson for the reception accorded the delegation, promised to lead a trade delegation to Yenagoa soon.
In his remarks, Governor Seriake Dickson noted that, the visit was an opportunity to further strengthen the excellent bilateral relation between Nigeria and the United States, stressing that Bayelsa State was looking forward to promoting a robust exchange of ideas that will bring about wealth creation and promote enterprise.
He also highlighted some similarities between Houston and Bayelsa, who are both oil and gas capitals of their respective countries,adding that, Bayelsa State is making efforts to aggressively expand the base of its economy beyond oil and gas by promoting Industry, Agriculture and Tourism.
Governor Dickson hinted that Bayelsa has been rated one of the safest in the country in terms of security, a rating that has made it possible for the State to consistently host major international events in the last eight months.
He disclosed that, the State will be hosting the first Caribbean African-American and Nigerian music festival and Awards as well as the International Jazz Festival on the 22nd of this month and the 7th of December, 2013.
The Governor restated his administration’s readiness for the big leap, stating that the present state Government understands the role of the private sector as a veritable means of wealth creation.
“As a Government, we are passionate about promoting the growth and development of the private sector, and urge you delegates to disregard negative reports about the safety of Nigeria. Nigeria is generally safe and Bayelsa State is the safest place to do business”
“The irony of this whole issues that, while foreign embassies are sending out negative advisories, their nationals are in the creeks prospecting for oil without any harm, and yet for whatever reasons the missions are still sending out adverse signals to their nationals”
He implored well meaning Nigerians at home and in the diaspora to work towards the promotion of a more direct people to people economic intercourse.
The Governor, who expressed satisfaction with the positive disposition of the trade delegation, stated that, he was looking forward to receiving the delegation in the State.