By CrossRiverWatch admin
Recently Senator Benedict Ayade marked 100 days of his administration in office. The governor used the occasion to reiterate the commitment of the government to actualize the Signature projects of his administration which include Cross River State Deep Sea Port and the Superhighway which will serve as the evacuation route for the seaport.
The governor also named a few other projects which his team is set to carry out in the state in the next four years. These projects include a, the Cross River State Garment Factory, the World class Dairy farm, A Cocoa Processing Factory and the Cross River State Quarrying and Mining Company.
These projects are intended to drive the government’s plan to revolutionize the state economy and set the foundation for other developmental initiatives which will follow.
For a state which is wriggling in debt and which had began to lose its shine, this comes as a welcomed development even as it brings hope and joy to citizens and residents.
Considering the project line up and the fact that many of these projects will take a Public Private Partnership model, it has become clear that the most important element, other than the government, that will ensure the success of this vision, is the Organized Private Sector in Cross River State.
Organized Private Sector in the Cross River State is made up of Calabar Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture (CALCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (NASMEA), National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and Nigerian Youth Chamber of Commerce (NYCC).
These Business Membership Organizations help in the Creation of a conducive atmosphere for the pursuit of commerce, industry and other forms of economic activities of interest to the private sector players in Cross River State.
This platform in addition to acting as the voice of businesses in the state also helps in the promotion, protection and development of all matters affecting businesses in different categories in the state.
Organized Private Sector is thus poised to engage effectively with the Government in order to develop a workable solution for the achievement of Senator Benedict Ayade Signature Projects and other initiatives.
There is no doubt that the state’s signature projects; the deep sea port and the super highway, will improve the business environment in the state and will be of immense benefit to the Organized Private Sector in the state. This is one reason why the platform will support the Senator Ayade Administration in achieving these set goals in the state.
Let us begin with projects like the Cross River State Garment Factory, the Cocoa Factory and the Rice Processing Mill. These projects require partnership with the private firms be they local, national or international. The reach of these Business Membership Organizations is not limited to local businesses but has networks that reach businesses in every continent on earth.
The Business Membership Organizations in all states and other countries network with each other and regularly exchange trade visits to discover business and investment opportunities in partner countries.
In this way, the Organized Private Sector in Cross River State must discover the business and investment opportunities in these proposed projects and link them up to the right firms and financing options to bring them to fruition.
The Organized Private Sector must thus create a forum that will provide the platform for the government team to engage with the Business Membership Organizations in the state to discuss the scope and details of the project and look at models and terms which will allow both teams work together and achieve set goals within workable timelines.
This forum will be the beginning of a rewarding working relationship between the government and the Organized Private Sector in the State. This is a relationship that promises to yield tangible dividends for both sides and will surely take Cross River State to a new economic development altitude. From the forgoing, it is clear that the organized private sector has an important role to play in the achievement of the vision of the Senator Ben Ayade Administration.
Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in business development are valuable in identifying the needs of government and investors, improving transparency and information flow, and promoting viable and sustainable business solutions. Current success stories prove that the focus needs to be on an integrated strategy by both sides for sustainable solutions.
Government must adopt a deliberate policy to work in partnership with the organized private sector, with a view to improving upon the level of private sector engagement in policy formulation and implementation. Government must also create a climate for a profitable and flourishing business enterprise in the state for the benefit of both.
Investment facilitation has the potential to bring considerable economic gains to the state through improving competitiveness and comparative advantage. The benefits of investment facilitation are substantial, with evidence suggesting that the gains from these are higher with full public private cooperation.
The role of the Organized Private Sector in the state thus cannot be overemphasized as the organization is the key in encouraging the private sector to buy into the signature projects and other initiatives and ensure they are achieved. There is no gainsaying that in facilitating this cooperation between the public and private sector in Cross River State, both parties must promote the highest level of transparency.
In concluding, I am confident that if Government would take the issue of investment facilitation through the Organized Private Sector seriously and provide the much-needed synergy, it would find not just the right private firm to partner on each of the signature projects but also the right financing option to ensure successful execution of the projects. More importantly, both stakeholders would have successfully created a cordial working relationship with each other.
It is my belief also that the Organized Private Sector in the state is very willing to partner with the state government in achieving these laudable goals for the good of the state and its citizens.
Emmanuel Etim is a development consultant based in Nigeria. (firstname.lastname@example.org)