World Bank Rates Bayelsa Number One in Ease-in-Doing Business in South-South ....John Jonah Attribute New Rating to Gains Recorded in Development of SMEs
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd), on Wednesday said the recent ranking of Bayelsa, as first in the Ease of Doing Business in the South-South zone of the country by the World Bank was attributable to the successes recorded in the development of Small and Medium Scale Businesses, (SMEs) over the years.
Rear Admiral John Jonah stated this in Yenagoa, while declaring open the maiden edition of the Business Linkages Forum with the theme, "Promoting Economic Development: Business Linkages In Focus."
Describing members of the state's investment team as world class, the Deputy Governor applauded them for their diligence and hard work in investment promotion activities, which has to a large extent, earned the state its new status in doing business.
He said, Bayelsa has in the last couple of years achieved some milestones from hosting various international conferences on SMEs development, but however noted that, a lot more is needed to be done in creating a critical mass in the empowerment of young indigenous business entrepreneurs that
would take control of the local economy.
Rear Admiral John Jonah, who expressed regret over the lack of critical middle level manpower in the state, identified the development as a major challenge to launching the state on the path of industrialisation.
"Our investment team is world class selected specifically by the government because there is no cutting of corners. Without encouraging SMEs, without encouraging productivity, there is no where we can go to. We must produce to international standard. We in most cases don't want to start small and
gradually develop. By the time we develop from stage to stage, which is what Bayelsa is doing.
"We have not started producing or getting feasible and tangible results to the extent that we would have loved to but consistently we will be there because Governor Seriake Dickson led administration has given the economic team one hundred percent support and I'm sure, by the expiration of the
tenure in 2020, we will be starting an irreversible standards of polices that have been taken and we are not going to fall back to where we were.
"Bayelsa has taken the development of small businesses as the most important element of our development strategy. We can't launch ourselves to become major industries. Its a shame we have middle level skilled manpower from outside the country taking up jobs that our people should be doing.
That is where we are lacking as a state and a nation and these are things that we are addressing but it will take time. We want to create a critical mass in most of these activities before we leave so that it will be more difficult to reverse moving forward."
In his keynote address, General Ishola Williams (Retd), highlighted a number of factors that the state government needed to tackle towards promoting small businesses, which include, building linkage as with corporate organizations such as international oil companies towards stimulating the state and national economy as a whole.
Retd General Williams also urged the government to establish vocational institutions to create a manpower base of technologists and technicians to drive SMEs development.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Daniel Iworiso-Markson described the high unemployment rate as a time bomb and urged young unemployed people to engage themselves in business ventures towards building the local economy.
Hon. Iworiso-Markson, who stressed the need for people to change the notion that, Bayelsa is a civil service state, said people needed to divert their attention from government employments and political appointments, stating that, in the next 5 years, Bayelsa has the potential of becoming one of the
leading economies in the country.
In her remarks, the Director General, Bayelsa Investment Promotion Agency, BIPA, Ms. Patience Ranami Abah said, the World Bank recently ranked Bayelsa as first in the entire South-South and second in the southern hemisphere of Nigeria in terms of Ease of Doing Business.
Ms. Abah, said enforcement of contracts and fiscal sustainability were key factors in investment promotion, stating that, the Governor Seriake Dickson-led administration has put in place some measures such as the monthly transparency briefings, which was responsible for the placement of
Bayelsa as first on the fiscal sustainability index ranking in the south-south region.