Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State, has restated his government’s commitment to provide enabling environment for trade and commerce to thrive in the state.
Governor Ikpeazu who was speaking when he paid a courtesy visit on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 to the British High commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, at the British High Commission in Abuja, appealed to British companies and investors to come and invest in Abia.
He said he was at the British High Commission to solicit for collaboration and partnership from the British Government and people to further develop Abia State.
Dr. Ikpeazu who stressed that Abia state is strong in small and medium enterprises (SME) added that Aba, which he described as the SME capital of Nigeria, has talents and craftsmen that can drive the economy of Nigeria towards accelerated growth and prosperity.
He identified some of the major challenges affecting the drive for trade and commerce expansion in the state to include infrastructural decay, especially in the area of federal roads and epileptic power supply, noting that it is also difficult to access good water supply at homes. The governor appealed for assistance in the areas of capacity building, training and support for tax reforms and assured that his government is working hard to quickly meet some of the identified challenges in order to position the state as the number one investment destination in Nigeria.
According to him, the commercial city of Aba hopes to benefit from the independent power of Geometric power Limited which will commence operation as soon as the federal government is able to resolve the impasse between the independent power provider and the distribution firms.
He maintained that a lot has been done to ensure adequate security in the state but that resources are still required to step up security through acquiring security surveillance systems in addition to other security infrastructure and technologies as the state has seamless borders with many states that are also security challenged.
Responding, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Ankwright, said the British Government assistance is currently focused on attacking poverty and humanitarian crises among others. He promised to talk to his colleagues at DFID to see how they can come in and assist the government and people of Abia State.
He also noted that part of his job involves alerting British companies to opportunities for investment and encouraging them to come and invest. He assured the Governor that he will communicate the opportunities available in Abia to British investors.
BCA Abuja Area Correspondent, China Mba, reports that the Governor was accompanied on the visit by the commissioner for finance, Honorable Obinna Oriaku.