Nigerians benefit when FG, states, private sector collaborate, says Osinbajo at Gombe Investment Summit

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, speaking at the Gombe Investment Summit, while he was also assisted by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, and others, as he cut the tape to lay the foundation block for the Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park in Gombe State, on Friday, October 14, 2022. Photos: Statehouse/Tolani Alli

• Improving the business environment is critical to the prosperity of our great country, VP adds

• ‘States must approach development as sovereign to boost economic growth’

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said that effective collaboration between the Federal and State Governments with the private sector is a sure catalyst for boosting economic growth, economic diversification and improved productivity.

Prof. Osinbajo, who stated this on Friday at the closing of the maiden Gombe State Investment Summit, also noted that improving the business environment is critical to “the prosperity of our great country.”

He added that State Governments can further boost economic growth and investments in their respective States by approaching development like a Sovereign State while improving the business environment for small businesses to thrive.

“The future of our country rests in the hands of business owners, the entrepreneurs, all over this State and all of our country.

“The successes that we have seen here in Gombe are substantially on account of the effective collaboration of the private sector, the States and the Federal Government. Our Federation benefits our people when the States and Federal authorities alongside private actors think and work together.”

The VP, who highlighted significant improvements recorded by the Gombe State Government in this regard noted that “as a progressive government, we remain committed to policies and reform efforts that are geared towards economic diversification and improved productivity.”

Speaking specifically on the Nation-State nexus in development, using Gombe as an example, the Vice President noted that it was “fascinating that Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has approached the development of the State by thinking as a Sovereign State as opposed to thinking as a sub-national.”

In the VP’s view, the Governor’s vision to draw up a 10-year development plan – Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), and determination towards creating an enabling business environment, were key pivots to economic growth.

“And this is as it should be. Gombe could rank very easily as a Sovereign State; its GDP is almost three times the GDP of Gambia and it is almost at the same level as the GDP of Liberia. So, when you compare this State to actual Sovereign States, you will see clearly that the only way to plan the growth of this State is to plan it like you would plan the growth of a country. And I am very happy that Governor Inuwa Yahaya is doing that,” Prof. Osinbajo further said.

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The State has already started reaping the rewards of its approach towards development, the VP noted.

“One of those is the remarkable feat of attaining the first position in the Sub-national Ease of Doing Business Baseline Survey Report of 2021. I am also informed that Gombe State was recently invited by the world-renowned Royal Institute of International Affairs, popularly known as the Chatham House, to share its experience implementing the State’s health system reforms. These validations from different bodies, local and international could not have come by accident.”

Commending the State Governor for his strong leadership and commitment, the Vice President added that Governor Yahaya also commissioned a Needs Assessment Survey, which he noted was “a vital first step towards developing a solid roadmap of reforms and programmes for the progress that we see today.”

Speaking on the State’s investments in human capital and physical infrastructure development, the Vice President stated that these investments “are the strong foundations for the rapid development led by small and medium enterprises.

“We are proud of the giant strides that Gombe State has recorded so far, but more importantly, we are confident of the successful results of the programmes currently being implemented by the State Government and those that are underway in the areas of health, industrialization, and agriculture,” he added.

The VP also disclosed that Gombe State is at the centre of the business enabling reforms, “which informs your standing as the number 1 State in the sub-national Ease of Doing Business Survey Report ranking. As captured by responses from the private sector in the report, Gombe leads the frontier in Infrastructure and Security indicators, as well as in Skills and Labour indicators.”

Particularly, the Vice President emphasized that Gombe’s progress was evidence that “government must catalyze economic growth with both policy measures and brick and mortar.”

Explaining further on rewards of investment in human capital and infrastructure, Prof. Osinbajo noted the commencement in 2021 of the 1000-hectare Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park in the State, which the VP also visited before he left.

“We are now told that the first phase of it is ready – over 369 hectares of that is ready. This is to be a purpose-built fully resourced manufacturing and industrial processing hub, designed to accommodate 10 mega factories. The project is important for the value-added functions of the factories and accretion to both internal and national revenue and the jobs that it will create -10,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs,” he said.

The Vice President also urged for government and the private sector to leverage the opportunities with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Prof. Osinbajo performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the Domagric Integrated Rice Mill, which is located inside the 1000-hectare Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park.

Governor Inuwa had led a delegation of top officials of the State, traditional rulers and other dignitaries to receive the Vice President at the Gombe Airport. The VP was also accompanied on the visit by Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.