By Emma Amaize
THE six states of the South-South geo-political zone may float a $100 million Sovereign Wealth Fund that will attract investment around the world.
Indication to this emerged when the South-South Governorsâ€™ Forum accepted a report to this effect submitted to it by Prof. Pat. Utomi-led economic committee at its last meeting in Asaba, Delta State.
The fund, which would be drawn from the excess crude account, is to be managed by international financial institutions. It is believed that the policy will quicken Public Private Sector Partnership arrangement and not only accelerate the growth of infrastructure but economic integration in the region.
A communiquÃ© issued at the end of the South-South Governors’ Forum in Asaba accepted the floating of the fund in principle and went further to establish an Economic Growth Council.
According to the communiquÃ©, the council will ensure the economic prosperity of the region and implement all programmes in the entire package. Meanwhile, Niger-Delta Professionals in Development (NIPRODEV), led by community development activist, Mr. Joel Bisina, yesterday, lauded the governors for their boldness in deciding to frontally confront issues that affect the socio-economic and political well being of the people of the South-South, especially the Niger Delta.
He said in a statement: â€œWorthy of great commendation is your desire to establish a South -South Economic Growth Council aimed at economic integration of the region which, if properly established, could form the bed rock of regional cooperation in policy formulation and implementation, thus drawing synergy from one and another.
â€œEstablish a sovereign wealth fund aimed at developing viable business and economic ventures in partnership with private sector. This fund could give rise to co-sponsored investment in areas of air, sea and rail transportation finance and even in the oil and gas sector.
â€œOne would not be surprised some day to witness the launch of South- South airline, South -South petro-gas industry or even South-South energy, strengthening and harnessing an already existing local technology in the refining of petroleum products as seen by the local refineries in the creeks.
â€œRenewed commitment to the development of Lagos – Calabar rail link to loop through the entire South-South. This will ease movement of goods and services, thereby reducing the pressure on our roads.