• Inaugurates new Electrical, Electronics Market

From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt


Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has said that besides creating the right business climate that has begun attracting investors to the State, the greater commitment to investors is for them to know that their investments will be protected to access the derivable benefits both to the State and the shareholders.

Governor Fubara gave the assurance at the inauguration of Phase 1 and the flag-off of Phase 2 of Port Harcourt Electrical Village located along KM 17, Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway on Thursday.

The Port Harcourt Electrical Village is a private sector initiative, which Governor Fubara noted, has come to reality because of the show of capacity and trust in the favourable investment climate his administration has enabled.

Governor Fubara said he did not make mistakes when he declared that the State is open to investors, and invited them to partner with his administration to develop the State economically.

He said’ “It should be noted that this project that I have come to commission is not a State project. It is a project by a private investor who has shown capacity because of the favourable business environment that we have created in the State.

“We didn’t make mistake when we assured the world that our State is open for people to come in and invest. It is open for people to come in and partner with government to accelerate development.

“So, our coming here is to tell other investors that if you want to do business in our State, we will give you the enabling environment. If you are coming to do business in our State, we will provide every other thing that you need to make sure that your business thrives well in our State.”

Governor Fubara provided further explanation to his decision of ensuring adequate protection of every genuine investment in the State.

He said: “We want development and government alone cannot develop this State. There is need for private investors to come join hands with government so that together, we can both develop this State.”

Governor Fubara pointed to the haphazard situation that prevails at Okija in Mile 1, Diobu axis of Port Harcourt where electrical and electronic dealers currently carry out their activities, converting residents’ rooms into shops.

He said their activities, poorly organised, also constitute traffic problem in the area and the decision to move such activities to the new location is commendable because it would bring related businesses in one organised place.

Fubara continued: “I am happy to be part of this history-making event. It is history-making because we are aware of the situation of business in Okija area of Port Harcourt.

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“Okija is a place that the houses are owned by private individuals for residential purposes. Some of them are now converted into shops for the purpose of doing electrical and electronic business.

“How convenient is that place? You know the problem we always have traversing from Ikwerre Road down into D/Line. And if you are passing through that axis, you face traffic issues because of the activities of those businesses there.”

He further said: “So, pulling that section of business to a place like this tells only one story: It is bringing them together, and creating a one-stop-shop for such activities, where you can come in, and do your business without interference.”

Governor Fubara commended the investor and owner of the Revelation Paints company for his courage and wonderful work done to actualise the market.

The governor also responded to the request to him to subsidize the rent for stores in the market, which is considered a suitable assistance and encouragement to those operating at Okija to move over to the new location.

He said: “We are going to create a channel of communication that will enable you to liaison with us so that we can support you to ensure that your business go on smoothly without any disruption.

“I am happy for the investor. It takes somebody who loves the State to put your money to invest in the State. I want to assure you that we will do everything to protect your investment on the part of government, so that other people will be encouraged to come and invest in our State.”

Governor Fubara further said: “For our people, it is important to note that a nation is not built only by government activities. Nations are developed by the support of business activities to engender healthy economic development.

“I want to enjoin you, more especially this investor, if you intend to expand outside the shopping mall, come to us, we will give you the support you require,” he added.

On his part, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Isaac Umejuru, noted the dogged efforts of Governor Fubara at transforming Rivers into an enviable commercial hub.

He asserted that the milestone will unlock greater opportunities, bring about more expansion, and further attract economic activities, decongest Port Harcourt of related business activities, and eventually improve urban livability.

In his remark, Executive Chairman of Revelation Paints Limited, Emmanuel Ogbebor, explained that the project is a specialised market, conceived about 30 years ago when dealers in electrical wares wanted a centralised place to conduct their business with utmost convenience.

Ogbebor said his company quite recently bought over the landed property that was long acquired by the dealers following the abandonment the project suffered in the hands of the contactor they hired to develop the place for them.

He said, “This place is designed to have1,720 lock-up shops in addition to having a clinic, police station, two commercial banks, eateries, canteen, restaurants, Supermarket, sickbay, car parks, warehouses, trailer park. That is what this is going to look like by the time you come here in another six to 12 months.

“For now, we have 620 lock-up shops ready for commissioning by His Excellency, and we have done the roads from the major road to Block ‘A’. That road is meant to carry any manner of trailer, no matter the tonnage or the weights, and the road is meant to last for, at least, 30 years.”

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