Expectations are high for deal signings at the Rivers Economic Summit

…While Sanusi, Moghalu and Kpakol grace a two-day event

Expectations are high that deals will be concluded and signed at the Rivers Investment and Economic Summit starting on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

Government officials and top conference executives have already seen hanging fruits that the state would pick to hit the ground running.

Also read: Economic Summit on Infrastructure and Rivers: Fubara’s N501.2 billion for 3 mega roads projects in first year could impress investors

Joe Johnson, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, who shed light on the direction of the summit, said Nigeria’s top figures in the financial and investment world are expected to attend the two-day event.

Johnson mentioned Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Emir of Kano, who will chair the summit, and the likes of Kingsley Moghalu, a renowned economist, and a Rivers-born economist and financial expert, Magnus Kpakol.

The morning press conference on Monday, May 20, 2024 at Government House revealed several experts who would sit on various panels.

The publicity subcommittee is chaired by Emma Okah and supported by Ibim Semenitari, both former Commissioners for Information and Communications who managed information for more than one term.

Based on the results of the summit, the information bosses would delve deep into the areas of concern to the state and provide solutions. They said investors want to know how prepared the current administration is to do business and work with investors.

“We want to show that Rivers State is ready and open for business,” he said.

Explaining further, Johnson said Rivers State is already visible as most economic summits are wont to do to organizing entities.

Semenitari added that the economic summit also positions the spirit of the government. She added that some business deals are already on the table with some investors and some such deals may be signed. She explained that the government only provides the platform, while deals mainly take place between companies. “Investment decisions are expected.”

On energy, she said renewable energy was the main agenda and a government policy paper on businesses would emerge from the summit.

Adding her voice, Semenitari said the Nigerian economy is a tripod: Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. “We know Lagos is the trade headquarters, Abuja is the policy headquarters, but PH is where the money is made. It’s where the oil is made, where the money is made. PH has leverage. Most thermal stations come from the oil region. Rivers State has power stations in Omoku, Trans-Amadi and Afam. She said it is good that power is decentralized so that states can influence it and make laws, reminding Nigerians that the struggle to decentralize power and give states a say started in Rivers State during the administration of Peter Odili.

She noted that the destination of the blue economy or green economy is Rivers State with seven rivers while most other states including Lagos have one major river each.

She stated that the creative economy has Rivers State as its destination. “Literally every major artist in Nigeria has a link to PH.”

On the new economy and ICT revolution, she said Rivers State is a hub because investments in it started years ago.

She said the summit would put Rivers State on a faster track for economic development and unearth various opportunities for investors across sectors.

Earlier, the Information Commissioner had given an overview and said that Day One would be chaired by Moghalu and Kpakol. “These are seasoned economists and financial experts.”

He said the second day would be chaired by the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi, while the thematic areas included education, technology, empowerment, power, agriculture, the new economy, the strength of government policies and the ease of business action plans.

He said many speakers have been lined up. There will be a keynote address that will reveal what the government has in mind for production and attracting investment; construction development, renewable energy, blue economy, creative economy, economic growth and development, rural development and agriculture.