Infrastructure: South-East launches fresh action plan

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The South-East Economic Summit ended in Enugu with people of the region rolling out fresh development plans.

The annual summit was organized by the South-East Governors’ Forum, in collaboration with the South-East Region Economic Development Corporation, SEREDEC.

The zone resolved to take advantage of the I.2 billion pounds project fund earmarked for Nigeria by the United Kingdom Department for International Trade, as well as other key financing options.

A representative of the UK DIT, Mr. Lami Adekola had at the event announced that the sum was lying fallow waiting to the deployed for critical infrastructures and projects across the country. Adekola said the fund was for development projects across board.

There were presentations and vigorous discussions on the on-going SEREDEC projects in Rail network, Gas pipeline network, Resort Hospital project, and Enyimba Economic City, as well as on the Ease of Doing Business, particularly World Bank Ease of Doing Business (Sub-national) ranking in Nigeria and the South East, new Ideas and Innovative Businesses, Human Capital Development and Youth empowerment, etc.

In a communique issued after the summit, signed by Prof. Barth Nnaji and Prof. Onyi Nwagbara, the chairman and the secretary of SEREDEC, respectively, the summit resolved to conclude feasibility study of gas pipeline and hospital projects within one year.

It was also resolved that “SEREDEC to set up mechanism for actualizing already identified projects.

“South East Governments should continue to work more actively with SEREDEC on regional economic development.

“SEREDEC to work with Afrieximbank, UK Trade Agency to secure financing for identified developmental projects

“SEREDEC to partner with investors to set up innovation center for providing technical innovation for SE entrepreneurs.

“While the focus on core infrastructure is good, SEREDEC needs to also prioritize human capital development including functionality of the education system, SEREDEC working with SE Governors should also emphasize on necessary drivers to aid soft infrastructure that would drive physical infrastructure. Also, there is need to prioritize human capital and skills development.

“South East Governors were commended for showing exemplary commitment and improving the security situation in the South East.

“Efforts to be made to get some SE volunteers and philanthropists to invest in a model school for STEM education.”

On access to financing, the following areas were identified: “Integrated Regional Planning, Deepening Economic Reforms to Reduce Uncertainty and attract more Investors within South East Region, Overcoming Uncertainty to Strengthen the Confidence of Investors, Creating a South East Wealth Fund (SEWF) Establishing or Selecting a Regional Center of Excellence for Science and Technology in the region, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), Uk Trade Agency, Bank of Industry, NIRSAL and Bank of Agriculture.”

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