By Peter Egwuatu
In a renewed effort toÂ bring economic development to the Northern part of Nigeria, the Conference of Northern States Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (CONSCCIMA) has entered into a partnership with the nationâ€™s leading investment banking institution, BGL Plc with a view to attracting investments into the area.
The hint was dropped by the Chairman of CONSCCIMA, Alhaji Jani Ibrahim at the annual general meeting of the Conference in Minna, Niger State at the weekend, stressing that the partnership with BGL would facilitate the development of the infrastructure in Northern Nigeria with particular emphasis on Energy and agriculture infrastructure.
To this end, he said CONSCCIMA has entered into an agreement with BGL Plc and Studiocraft Limited, publishers of Energy News to develop a three_year programme to attract huge investments towards the development of the infrastructure in Northern Nigeria particularly in the areas of Energy and Agriculture infrastructure.
â€˜â€™It is our firm belief that at the end of this process the public private sector partnership that will be developed will greatly enhance the capacity of Northern Nigeria to be able to be the leading contributor to Nigeriaâ€™s quest to be among the top 20 economies by the year 2020’â€™, he said.
The Group Managing Director/CEO of BGL Plc, Albert Okumagba disclosed that BGL and Studiocraft would begin the process with an annual CONSCCIMA conference and exhibition with an opportunity to develop Northern Nigeria by focusing on development in CONSCCIMA focus areas.
According to Okumagba who was represented by BGLâ€™s Head of Investment Banking Sales & Distribution, Olumide Bolumole, the event, with the support of the 19 State Governments, will showcase he numerous investment opportunities to prospective investors as well as technical partners.
Okumagba added that the event would comprise of various focused technical sessions and exhibitions occurring simultaneously paving the way for relevant discussions between key participants as well as allowing investors to get an in_depth exposure to various opportunities.
â€˜â€™Investors will have the opportunity to have private meetings with project sponsors and vice versa for the purpose of attaining an in_depth knowledge of projectsâ€™â€™, he said.
He noted that Northern Nigeria comprising of 19 States currently possesses 65 per cent of Nigeriaâ€™s land mass and 55 per cent of its population, lamenting; â€˜â€™paradoxically, Northern Nigeria has experienced severe underdevelopment possessing less than 10 per cent industrial capacityâ€™â€™.
He however, assured that the CONSCCIMA conference and exhibition would present Northern Nigeria as a veritable investment haven with a view to facilitating socio economic growth in the region.
The BGL boss added that this would help bridge the underdevelopment gap between the North and the rest of Nigeria.
The Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muâ€™azu Babangida Aliyu pledged the solid support of his administration for the effort CONSCCIMA and BGL to bring socio economic development to the region. He stressed that government would continue to create an enabling environment to make the proposed private public sector partnership aimed at developing the Northern part of Nigeria a huge success.