Senator Douye Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has appealed to foreign investors to tap his state’s economic potential beyond its dwindling oil resources.

Diri, who spoke on Tuesday evening at one of the closing sessions of the annual meeting of global investors known as Dubai Expo at the scenic Dubai Exhibition Center in the United Arab Emirates, was quoted in a statement as saying. for stating that Bayelsa is an amazing state with several investment opportunities waiting to be tapped.

The Governor of Bayelsa said the state, created in 1996, is looking for investors to develop its agricultural potential in areas where it has a comparative advantage such as rice, cassava, sugar cane, palms and the production of palm oil, plantain as well as fishing and aquaculture.

He called on investors to partner with the state to exploit its rich mangrove forests and natural beaches to turn it into a tourist paradise.

Diri pointed out that the sprawling coastline of Bayelsa, which was the longest in Nigeria, offered vast opportunities for power generation ranging from wind power to tidal and solar power.

“It gives me particular pleasure to present to you what I sincerely describe as a unique opportunity: to come and invest in the incredible state of Bayelsa. We know that investment is essential to achieve the lofty socio-economic goals that will sustain our young people or reduce the poverty that continues to challenge a significant number of our fellow citizens.

“We are taking the necessary steps with our State Development Strategic Plan, integrating the private sector into our development and growth agenda, and ensuring that structures and policies are competitive and in line with international best practices. “, he added.

The Bayelsa helmsman pointed out that the measures already taken have put the state on a positive trajectory, saying that a recent report on the ease of doing business ranked the state highest in the south-south region and has been rated as one of the safest places to do business in the country.

“Our state is one of the major oil and gas producers in Nigeria. There is, however, much more to Bayelsa than its abundant oil and gas deposits.

“These include, but are not limited to agriculture, where our arable land gives us a comparative advantage in the production of rice, cassava, sugar cane, palm and plantain.

“In tourism, with our lush mangrove forests and natural beaches, we have huge untapped opportunities to make the state a tourist paradise.

“In addition to captive fishing, which has done particularly well in our climate, our extensive coastline is also suitable for commercial fishing and power generation ranging from wind, tidal and solar power,” said he added.

Stating that his administration was pursuing the construction of a deep water port, he assured investors that he would work diligently to remove any obstacles that would limit their capacity and investment.

“We have a significant infrastructure deficit and we hope that investors will see the value of partnering with us to broaden the scope of our development,” he added.

According to the statement, Diri also met with the UAE’s Minister of Economy, the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria as well as representatives from Dubai Investments.

Expo Dubai 2020, which ends on March 31, has attracted exhibitors and participants from over 190 countries, including 14 states in Nigeria.

Other Nigerian Governors present were Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum; Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Godwin Obaseki (Edo); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).

Also present were Solomon Lalong (Plateau), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger) and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq from Kwara State.

Sokoto, Yobe, Cross River and Enugu also participated in the forum.

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