By Lizzy Okoji
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi says safety and effective institutions put in place by his administration have being attracting foreign investors to the state.
Bello made this known last night in Lokoja at the opening of the 29th Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA), being hosted by the state.
According to Bello, his administration has been able to ensure security which has made Kogi to be one of the safest states in the country, hence a lot of people coming to invest in the state.
He assured that the state was opened to more foreign investors, especially in the mining, agricultural and tourism sectors.
“However you attend talk shows, investment summits, seminars, if the environment is not safe, no investor will take their money to where their investments will not be safe, the personnel will not be safe.
“So, what I did more in Kogi is to ensure that the state continues to be safe and safer.
“In addition to that, we are having a one-stop-shop policy where you do not have to go through all the bureaucratic processes to be able to have your investments here in Kogi state.
“Kogi state is known to have arable lands and solid minerals and also tourist sites. We are seeking more investments in the areas of exploring our solid minerals, agriculture and tourism,” Bello said.
Bello added that strong and working institutions put in place by his New Direction Government has also enticed not just foreign investors but national investors from other states to Kogi.
The governor noted that prior to his assumption of office, most structures in the state were not working as supposed to, which put the state on a negative pedestal.
He said that he had to embark on a complete sanitisation of the system; overhaul of the civil service, state internal revenue service and law enforcement, among others.
Bello reiterated that his aim was to build an institution with policies that will outlive his administration.
“Kogi was known to be a civil service state, we were able to identify that some of our internal revenue sources were used to be a political patronage for politicians, friends or relations or what have you.
“All I did was to simply block that leakage and ensure that we mobilise and drive those revenues in, and also, it encouraged investors to come into the state.
“A lot of them, as I said earlier, are queuing up; as they invest, we give them certain incentives to employ our youths and citizens of Kogi State and they pay tax.
“So we are able to drive some of these revenue sources and at the end of the day we ensured we grant autonomy to the revenue service.
“So, it Is not under strict control of anybody. So they have a target they must hit on monthly basis, out of which they run the agency and remit the rest to the society.
“When we came on board we realised the larger population is made up of youths and women, and there have always been this issue of police or law enforcement brutality on the citizens.
“What we did was come up with Public Defenders and Citizen’s Rights Commission. We conceptualised that idea, we sent an executive bill to the House of Assembly, it was passed into law and immediately I signed it.
“It is a replica of the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja, that is why the incidents #EndSars, we did not have such incidents in the state.
“The Commission takes care of the vulnerable, those that cannot hire legal service when in distress.
“We inherited a Civil Service that was largely inefficient, we embarked on a very difficult and treacherous screening exercise, we were able to weed off all the unintending beneficiaries from our civil service.
“We are leaving strong institutions so that after this administration, when the next administration that will come, it will be difficult for them to mess or bastardise that particular system,” Bello said. (NAN)