The Governor of Abia state, Dr. Alex Otti, on Thursday launched the Abia Global Economic Advisory Council (AGEAC), with the former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Arunma Oteh as chairperson.
The Council comprising 18 highly distinguished Nigerians with global recognition in economics, has a former Central BANK of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and 14th Emir of Kano, Khaleefa Muhammad Sanusi II, and Mr. Bolaji Balogun as Co-Chairmen.
The list of appointed members includes notable individuals such as Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Dr. Benedict Oramah, who would serve as Honourary Advisors with additionally, five representatives from the State Executive Council, including Governor Alex Otti.
Speaking at the Inauguration held at the Banquet Hall Government House Umuahia, Governor Alex Otti said, the aim is to support the state government’s vision and position Abia as a leading global investment destination that boasts advantages for both local and international businesses across various industries.
The Governor emphasized that the Council would work with the State government and other local stakeholders, including the Abia Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, to bring opportunities inherent in the state to the attention of the investing global community.
While highlighting Abia’s potential to become a preferred investment destination, especially in sectors such as agriculture, fashion, and metal fabrication among others, the Governor noted that with the right support, Abia would become a major player in the global market.
“Our ultimate goal is to re-make the entire State into a robust enterprise ecosystem with clear pathways to bigger global and regional markets.
“We are keen to transform our traditional agro-economy to become a major player in the global agricultural value chain, producing sufficient output to feed the local population and then for export.
“We did it in the 1950s and early 1960s with crude technology and an under-developed supply chain; I believe we can do even better in the 21st century with all the amazing opportunities it promises”, Governor Otti asserted.
The Governor highlighted the state’s commitment to infrastructural development, with road rehabilitation, environmental sustainability projects, and a focus on health and education evident in the 2024 budget.
Governor Otti expressed optimism that the council would assist the state government achieve its vision within the next 24 months and urged them to focus on seizing opportunities and overcoming challenges.
He thanked members of the Abia Global Economic Advisory Council for their commitment to serving Abia and reassured them of the state government’s support and implementation of all recommendations.
Presenting the overview of the Abia State Global Advisory Council, a former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Chairman of the Council, Ms. Arunma Oteh, applauded the achievements of Governor Otti in the last seven months, and said that the event has become necessary to improve the economic well being of Abia State and assured the Governor that the Council would support his vision towards making Abia the fastest growing economy in the comity of states.
Also, the Co-Chairmen of the Council, including a former CBN Governor and 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammed Sanusi Ii, and a doyen of financial market in Nigeria, Mr. Bolaji Balogun, said that Abia State is blessed with a first Class economist in the person of Governor Alex Otti and urged the Governor as a member of the National Economic Council to pursue policies that would place Abia on the path of greater peace and prosperity.
In their separate remarks, a former Military Administration of the old Imo State, General Ike Nwachukwu (Rtd.), and a renowned Economist, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, said that Governor Otti is on the right path to developing the State that has been in total shambles in the hands of successive administrations and expressed worry on the mass exodus of the Nigerian workforce to overseas in search of better living.
The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Kingsley Anosike, in his presentation, stated that the vision and mission of the Otti ‘s administration are to establish a responsive and efficient system that would represent the interest, welfare, and security of the totality of Abians which are the major economic thrust of the present administration.