YENAGOA – The Bayelsa Government on Friday concluded its maiden Investment and Economic Forum by signing a N25 billion SMEs development fund partnership agreement with a pool of financiers.
The agreement was signed with the Bank of Industry, Mainstreet Bank and the Bank of Agriculture in Yenagoa.
Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) were also signed with Ostertrade for the establishment of ceramic tiles, glass, tomato paste and beans canning industries.
MoUs were also signed with Proton Energy for the construction of a 500 megawatts power plant, and with Banner Energy for the siting of a gas plant and a mini LNG in the state.
The state government equally signed MoU with the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology and four media organisations: Channels, Africa Independent Television, Nigeria Television Authority and Silverbird television stations.
Minister of Communication Technology, Omobolaji Johnson signed for Federal Government while Secretary to the State Government, Edmund Oguru and Commissioner for Information, Markson Fefegha signed for Bayelsa.
Gov. Seriake Dickson said SMEs remained a critical aspect in implementing the economic diversification policy of the state government.
He urged the people of the state to key into the SMEs programme for the creation of wealth and job opportunities.
The governor said that dependence on political patronage was no longer sustainable.
Dickson, who signed and presented Certificates of Occupancy to Julius Berger Plc and some individuals, assured the partners of judicious use of funds.
He said government had put measures in place to closely monitor the would-be beneficiaries of the SMEs for effective management of the fund.
On her part, Johnson said Bayelsa had been chosen for a Smart State Initiative to increase its level of internet connectivity.
She said research indicated that 20% of the state was yet to be covered by mobile telecommunications signal.
She commended the state government for its huge investments in security.
Johnson said ICT had become a critical component in the development of any economy, with great potential for job creation. (NAN)