By BILIQIS ONAOLAPO OLAJUMOKE, Ilorin
Kwara State Government has struck a partnership deal with the Nigerian Export Import (NEXIM) Bank towards facilitating export-related industrialisation and investment promotions around local resources in the state.
The signing of the deal occurred on Monday in Cairo, Egypt, on the sidelines of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) following briefings on the various economic projects of the state government, especially the under-construction industrial park, the IsDB-backed agroprocessing zone, sugar film factory, garment and Shea butter factories, solid minerals, and the visual arts centre, which is unique in West Africa subregion.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq signed the deal for the state government while NEXIM was represented by its Managing Director Abba Bello. The deal will qualify Kwara and private exporters of non-oil commodities operating in it for State Export Development Funds and other supports upon fulfilment of relevant terms.
The MOU involves NEXIM offering financial and export advisory services, which may include working out financing arrangements, investment mix as well as facilitating export market off-take, especially for SMEs and businesses related to women and youth empowerment.
The Governor said the government has invested in different projects and adopted policy initiatives that seek to diversify the local economy, including the reduction of the telecom right-of-way from N5,500.00 to N1.00.
“That policy initiative has yielded significant results for the state. Some 500 kilometres of fibre optic cable have been laid as a result. This has tremendous impacts on internet penetration and connectivity,” the Governor said.
The Governor said the state has also secured financial commitments and strategic partnerships for its innovation hub from IHS.
The state government’s team also held a brief meeting with the AfriEximBank during which Governor AbdulRazaq pitched the industrial park and other state-funded projects, saying the state is open to public private partnership arrangement to make the projects viable and sustainable for the interest of the people.
The deal signing was witnessed by members of the Kwara State delegation, including Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi-Salihu; Commissioner for Communications Hon. Bola Olukoju; Commissioner for Business Innovation and Technology Hon. Damilola Yusuf-Adelodun; and Commissioner for Solid Minerals Abdulquawiy Olododo.
Kwara is one of the few Nigerian states attending the IATF 2023 which winds down on Wednesday November 15.
Attended by over 4,000 delegates, exhibitors, and industry leaders, the IATF is the marketplace for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest free trade area which brings together African nations of the African Union and eight regional economic communities to create a single market for the continent.