Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, says Abia is open and serious-minded about partnering with countries and organisations that can assist in the economic development of the State.
Governor Otti spoke Thursday when he received the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Nigeria, Dr. Usra Hendra Harahap, who came on a working visit.
Besides propositions in education, agriculture and health, the Governor made specific requests on the Indonesian Ambassador on how the Asian country could assist Abia in the area of SMEs, entrepreneurship, technology and sea port development, saying that Abia State Government would be willing to work with investors from Indonesia to develop these sectors of the state’s economy.
“A few requests that we want to make, one of them is the establishment of an entrepreneurship and technology development centre in the state, either in Aba or Umuahia. Umuahia is the state capital, Aba is the industrial and commercial hub.
“Our people are very, very innovative, so all they require is a little support in terms of enabling environment, support in terms of infrastructure, support in terms of seed capital. The government is very serious about providing these kinds of support. When you talk about SMEs, this is where it comes from.
“If we can work together to establish an entrepreneurship and technology centre anywhere in the state, I know you’ve done that for a few countries, you can also do that for us here.
“The other one is that we have decided to build a sea port. Government will partner with the private sector to build a sea port. In one of our local governments, Ukwa East, close to Ukwa-West where we have the oil and gas deposits, we have identified an area where we can build a sea port. If you do have skills and companies that can assist us, we will be very, very interested in working with them,” the Governor said.
He told the Ambassador that Abia is open for business and that government would create the enabling environment for investors to come in and establish.
“I want to reassure you that we are a very serious-minded government in Abia, here. We have opened the state up for business. Your nationals that want to, not just support but also make money out of trade, industry, commerce, technology, we’re open and we will give them all the necessary support to set up their businesses. We will give them security and provide enabling environment for their businesses to grow,” he declared.
Governor Otti thanked the Ambassador for identifying Abia State as a worthy partner and carrying out an independent assessment on the state’s potential. He expressed optimism that the collaboration would be fruitful.
Speaking earlier, Ambassador Harahap, who was accompanied by his wife, told Governor Otti that his visit was to demonstrate his country’s “sincere commitment to fostering diplomatic cooperation” with Nigeria and “with the great state of Abia”.
He said: “Our visit today signifies Indonesia’s keen interest in establishing meaningful partnerships in crucial sectors: Namely: Trade, Investment, Agriculture, Education, Technology, Construction and Works, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, as well as Entrepreneurship.”
According to him, those sectors hold the key to unlocking shared economic prosperity and creating opportunities for the people of Indonesia and Abia State.
The Ambassador said that they are excited to welcome the business community from Abia State to dig more opportunities with Indonesia. He maintained that their research shows that Abia has potential for possible collaborations.
“From our findings about Abia, your State has enormous natural resources and played important role in the region. We recognise the agricultural potential of your region and envision collaboration between Indonesia and Abia State businesses in areas such as food processing, agricultural machinery, and irrigation”
In the area of education, he stated that Indonesia is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities to bright and ambitious students from Abia State, adding that, “There will be financial assistance offered by our government to pursue doctoral, master and under-graduate degree in one of Indonesian universities.