Interview With Mr. Victor Oluwafemi Walsh, On the Investment Potentialities of Kogi State

News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN) caught up with Mr. Victor Oluwafemi Walsh, the CEO of Africa Development Studies Center (ADSC), Director, Middle East Africa Business Group (MEAFRIC) and promoter Invest in Arewa (AII) on the investment potentialities of kogi state (Interview by by Akin Makanjuola)

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QUESTION:

Why Investment Summit at this time and not any other programme? And what are your expectations in promoting this agenda.

ANS:

The answer is; why not investment? Either in recession or out of recession, investment/revenue generation is a sine – qua – non in running the economy; in fact it is investment that drives the economy. Massive investment is required to keep the economy moving that is the lesson of the current economic recession. Our experience with other economies is that the investment base of any nation, will determine the direction and level it will go in delivering the dividends of democracy. Dubai, China and Korea are major players in world economy today and are what they are because of massive investment; they have become may or global players impacting on the rest of the rest of the world. In our own little way we want to understudy these examples of investment success in other places and replicate them in Kogi State; it is possible. As it is often said, where there is a will, there is a way. After elections are won or lost, I think the next thing to do, is to strategize on the best ways to deliver on our campaign promises and I think the new direction should be investment promotion in Kogi State.

QUESTION:

Old habits they say do not die easily; the known pattern is to assembly every month end in Abuja to collect shares from the Federation Account by States; how can this orientation be changed to an investment friendly one.

ANS:

It is very possible; the events of the past few years have taught us to think outside the box. The doctrine of necessity imposed on us by economic recession has made it mandatory for government to meet up with its obligation of paying salaries promoting or building infrastructure; And I think the road map to obtaining the required tolls of ensuring overall development is through investment and financial innovation.

On a good note, I am aware that the current administration of Governor Yahya Bello is already doing something in that direction. For the first time, the State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has risen to over N600million, this is commendable. It is now a challenge to the civil service of the state to work up and key into this agenda of Change and financial re-engineering. Now come to think of it; what is the relevance of an Investment Officer that cannot generate investment to the state? We must engage those who can constructively and creatively move the state forward.

QUESTION:  

What do you consider as the strong areas Kogi can zero-in or look into in terms of Investment (Call it comparative advantage)?

ANS:

As earlier said, agriculture will be a viable alternative but beyond that we are working on other alternatives, like the concept of “Sister Cities” which can easily be worked out between cities/towns in Kogi and some American States at a cross-cultural level for the purpose of cultural/educational exchanges attracting investments just to mention a few. Most people today, do not know that Lagos is an “adoptee”, so to say of Atlanta city in Geogia, in the United States and this relationship has resulted in some of the progress being witnessed in the State and Lagos in particular. Why can’t we do the same in Kogi?

QUESTION:

Is the leadership in the state (Kogi) open to this innovation and how do you get the message across as somebody outside government and a private investors?

ANS:

Obviously, we are already talking with Kogi State Officials. So far, there is enthusiasm on their part: to key into new ideas that will promote and attract investment to the state. There is thus new orientation to create an investment friendly state that would attract the interest of potential foreign investors under the current leadership of Governor Yahya Bello.

 


African Development Studies Center (ADSC) LLC

 

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