Nigeria’s Rivers State Leverages Oil Wealth to Court Investors

According to former Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, oil-rich Rivers State has a unique chance to emerge as a beacon of progress, replacing despair with hope. Concurrently, Governor Siminalayi Fubara underscored efforts to create an investor-friendly environment, reassuring investors of returns on their investments.

A key oil-producing region hosting major companies, Rivers State is plagued by oil theft, sabotage, and high unemployment despite its vast oil wealth. However, Fubara emphasized re-industrializing the state and reviving shuttered factories.

At the Rivers Economic Summit themed “Advancing Economic Growth”, Sanusi’s keynote called for better resource management. He stated Rivers could become an investor paradise in West Africa if the right steps are taken, leveraging its abundant land, resources, and strategic location.

The Emir stressed prosperous futures rely on strong institutions and skilled populations. He cited countries like Japan and Singapore thriving without resources through good governance, innovation, and education.

Fubara highlighted initiatives like prompt land allocation, tax moratoriums for new businesses, and harmonizing state/local taxes to eliminate double taxation hindering investors. He also announced a $2.7 million loan scheme with the Bank of Industry for small/medium businesses.

While commending resource-rich nations like Russia and UAE, Sanusi argued success depends on visionary governance and institutions, stating “Oil is not a curse; the curse is the leaders we have had.”

Fubara detailed plans like providing land for an aluminum mill, partnering with firms to boost agriculture, and reviving abandoned agricultural projects/infrastructure with $10 million allocated this fiscal year.

Investment opportunities span oil/gas, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, education, ICT, healthcare, infrastructure, glass/garment production, and power. He said that with 40% arable land, Rivers could contribute to food security through commercial mechanized farming and agro-processing.