The Bayelsa State Government rounded off its 3 day Investment and Economic Forum by signing a N25 billion SMEs development fund partnership agreement with the Bank of Industry, Mainstreet Bank and the Bank of Agriculture in Yenagoa, the state capital.
MoUs were also signed with Ostertrade for the establishment of ceramic tiles, glass and tomato paste and bean canning industries, Proton Energy for the construction of a 500 megawatts power plant, and Banner Energy for the siting of a gas plant and a mini LNG in the state.
The state government equally signed memoranda of understanding with the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology and 4 media organizations, comprising Channels Television, Africa Independent Television (AIT), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Silverbird.
The Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobolaji Johnson signed on behalf of the Federal Government, while Secretary to State Government, Professor Edmund Alison Oguru and Information Commissioner, Deacon Markson Fefegha signed on behalf of the state government.
Speaking at the forum, Governor Seriake Dickson said SMEs remained a critical aspect in implementing the economic diversification policy of therestoration government.
Urging the people of the state to key into the SMEs programme for the creation of wealth and job opportunities, the governor stressed that, the era of dependence on political patronage was no longer sustainable.
Governor Dickson, who also signed and presented some copies of certificates of occupancy to Julius Berger Plc and other individuals, underscored the importance of the land title document in addressing the issue of access to business finance.
While assuring the partners of the judicious use of the funds, he maintained that, government has put in place measures to closely monitor the would-be beneficiaries of the SMEs for effective management of the fund.
In her remarks, the Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. OmobolajiJohnson said, Bayelsa has been chosen for what she described as a smart state to increase its level of internet connectivity as 20% of the state is yet to be covered by mobile signal.
She commended the state government’s huge investments in security, noting that ICT is a critical component in the development of any economy, with great potential for job creation.
On media partnership, the state government explained that the deal was aimed at promoting effective dissemination and management of information concerning its activities.
Lead speakers and panelists at the forum include Chief Timi Alaibe, Diezani Alison Madueke, Mr. Uche Orji, Miss Ivana Osagie, Managing Director of Notore Chemical industries, Regional Manager South-south Operations Bank of industry, Mr Balarabe Musa.