Regional economic cooperation has been recommended for speedy development of the South-East zone of Nigeria.

Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Umahi, who made the recommendation during the 4th South-East Economic Summit (SEES) held at the Base Event Centre, Enugu yesterday, called on government and people of the zone to pool resources together if they must make headway economically.

Panel Section

Represented by his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, Umahi, who is also the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, lamented that Nigeria spent billions of US Dollars to import salt whereas Ebonyi State had abundant salt deposit which if tapped would generate enough wealth for the zone should they pool resources together to explore the large salt deposit.

“N23 billion US Dollars were spent on salt importation to Nigeria in the last ten years,” he disclosed.

Umahi also suggested that the South-East would invest where they had comparative advantage in agriculture. He said that for the zone to maximise revenue “we must maximise our potential.”

Chairman of the Summit tagged: “Financing South-East Economic Development and Improving Ease of Doing Business,” Dr. Paschal Dozie, former MTN, boss, aligned with the recommendation on the need for the zone to pool resources together to make the zone thick economically.

Dozie said: “Why can’t our politicians cooperate? Why can’t our governors come together and say, let’s embark on one project?

Read: SEREDEC, SEGF in Partnership With DFID PERL, Convenes the 4th South East Economic Summit

“Are we going to wait for this place to be completely deserted before we do something? If you want to move fast, you move alone but when you want to get things done, you do it together.”

A resource person, Prof. Chidi Onyia, former adviser to the Minister of Power and Team Lead, DFID – Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility, NIAF, Programme, said that having laudable ideas had never been the problem for economic growth in the zone but the inability of Igbo leaders to take bold steps to achieve a common goal.

Onyia said political leaders could look beyond election promises and move to something tangible that would better the zone.

“The issue has never been lack of ideas but for the policy makers to be honest to set up a financing process for the East.We should look beyond election promises.If risk exposure is not too much, people will invest. We should move from political sound bite to real implementation,” he stressed,” he said.

 

Additional Report from NewTelegrap

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