The viability of every nation-state depends on the structure and strength of its economy, Nigeria is no exception. The potency of every nation is assessed based on level of infrastructure and human development.
In that connection, the private sector and other stakeholders will not forget in a hurry the limitless investment opportunities in Rivers State, especially in the oil and gas sector, and in the Greater Port Harcourt mega City, aimed at decongesting the Garden City to ensure a sustainable urban growth.
The collaboration between government and private sector is a powerful tool for attracting private investment. This however, laid credence to the fact that the Rivers State Government strongly believes in the strategic role of the private sector as the driver of economic development in the society.
Little wonder the former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in his key note address said, “Rivers State is a success story in Africa and the world – the sustenance of her prosperity does depend on massive infrastructural development”. This is exactly the priority of Governor Amaechi’s administration in the state.
Rivers State accounts for 100% of the Liquefied Natural Gas exports from Nigeria and over 40% crude oil produced onshore and 10% of the nation’s GDP.
Port Harcourt and its environs over the years witnessed astronomical increase in size without a commensurate expansion in her public infrastructure creating unacceptable urban sprawl. This has resulted to chaotic traffic conjunction, emergence of slums within the city.
Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam, GPH Administrator stated that:
“This conference no doubt would not have come at a better time than now, as it has settled the issue of political will to implement the project. She surmised, adding that “the New City Master Plan will curb the spate of unstructured development.
Where the urban regeneration process starts with the upgrading of infrastructure in the Old City, the New City Master Plan concentrates on the New City Area, refining the Urban Development Framework and providing a town plan at district levels supported by clear planning principles and intensive development control regulation.
In furtherance of clear planning, there are categories of roads. A 6 lane freeway will link both cities starting from UTC junction to the Central Business District, while the M10 free way will connect the two major anchors – the Port Harcourt International Air Port and the Onne Sea Port. Other investment opportunities’ include: Housing, Shopping Complex, 18 Hole Golf Course, Power Generation and Transmission, Transportation etc.
Mrs. Cookey-Gam in a meeting with the Builders Association of Nigeria recently, re-emphasized that the Authority will conform to quality standards in the execution of all projects. Other professional bodies collaborating with the Authority are: The Nigerian Institute of Architects and international organization like UNoPs, AFDB, United Nations Habitat, Shelter Afrique etc. are seeking ways of collaborating with GPHCDA.
In protecting investment, the Rivers State Government has provided a strong legal framework that provides regulatory mechanism, as well as reduces the risk of any policy reversal by future administrations. These include: the GPHCDA Law No.2 of 2009 which mandates the Authority to protect private investment (local and foreign), procure from State Government; guarantees, letters of comfort, indemnities and undertakings; the Public Procurement Law No.4 of 2008 which also established the Bureau of Public Procurement which ensures a fair, transparent and well managed procurement process and the Public Private Participation in Infrastructure Law No.5 of 2009 to facilitate and regulate partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Other incentives for investors may include Tax Holidays, in exceptional cases availability of land and clear guidelines for smooth operations, which makes the Greater Port Harcourt project safe and investment friendly.
Prince Nwaokugha Ikeokwu.
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