By Franklin Alli
ENUGU –based African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE) has flayed the governors of the South East states for lack of up-to-date information about what investment opportunities exist in their respective states. The South East states comprise Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Anambra.
According to the Executive Director of the Institute, Professor Eric Eboh, many states do not have up-to-date information portals on investment information including investment opportunities, guidelines and procedures for investment, social and economic database.
“Consequently, there is lack of up-to-date information about what investment opportunities exist in the State, how such opportunities can be accessed and what the State government is willing to do (that is incentives) in promoting the utilisation of such opportunities,” he added.
Eboh made the observation during a public- private dialogue/ stakeholders’ forum on South East business environment held in Enugu recently.
“State governments should therefore set up investment information gateways through web-based platforms and printed investor manuals.
The Ministries of Commerce and Industry and the State Planning Commissions should anchor the production and publication of such investment information portals,” he noted.
The professor disclosed that geo- economic cluster is being promoted all over the world as a powerful tool for economic development and zones in Nigeria should not be left be left behind.
Geo-economic cluster refers to physically contiguous space of economic and business activities with high potentials for networking, linkages and economies of scale. Many regions of the world have used the geo-economic cluster approach to engender trade, agricultural and industrial development.
He also called on the state governments in the zone to put machinery in motion towards revamping the moribund designated industrial areas and enterprise clusters or zones in the country.
According to him, “State governments should revamp the industrial areas and enterprise zones by providing critical infrastructure and services through different forms of financing including public-private partnerships.
Common facilities such as water, sewage, access roads and electricity are critically imperative for such industrial areas to activate their idle and wasting economic potentials.”
The AIAE boss stressed the need to reduce the bottlenecks experienced in obtaining land registration, particularly the long waiting period to obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy for the use of business enterprises, averring that economic potentials are held up by lack of land titles.
“Businesspeople and economic operators are unable to use land as collateral to access loans and credit because of lack of statutory titles.
State governments should remove the bottlenecks to land registration by for example, delegating the Governor’s Consent and increasing the transparency and speed of the procedures for land registration. Information about procedures and guidelines land registration should be publicized,” he added.