President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday asked Bayelsa State to develop other sectors of its economy instead of depending on oil and gas alone.
The President who was represented by the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo spoke at the first Bayelsa State Investment Fourm at the Banquet Hall, Yenagoa.
The forum which was hosted by Governor Seriake Dickson with the theme, ‘Unlocking Bayelsa economic potential: Opportunities and Challenges’, attracted investors from Europe, Asia, Africa among others.
Also in attendance were the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke; Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Arganga; investors from Europe, Asia, Africa, among others.
Jonathan said: “Bayelsa must diversify its economic base. It should not focus on oil wealth. It should pay attention to agricultural, coastal landscape for tourism, maritime industry and new housing estate.
“The desire by the state government for development will be supported by the Federal Government.”
To realise the economic potential of the state, he said there was a great need for the people to place unity above partisanship.
He insisted that peace was required to ensure the development of the state adding that the Federal Government was determined to maintain peaceful coexistence in the country.
“Bayelsa should place unity above partisanship and internal division in the planning and development”, he said.
Jonathan recommended agriculture as a sector waiting for development in the state.
He said: “You have to pay attention to agriculture on land and sea because the importance of farming to economic growth cannot be neglected.
“The government itself should place the business of agriculture and education on high priority; focus should also be given to infrastructure; these are the major keys for development.
“Bayelsa have been beautiful for investment right from its creation in 1996. The state is undoubtedly green in vegetation and green for investment opportunity.
“I will also like to urge the state government to redouble effort in securing peace and security in Bayelsa and in all of Niger Delta states”.
In his remarks, Dickson said the state was determined to promote investment available in the state.
He said the forum was organised to present the opportunities available in the state to the world.
he said: “We are going to get the youth back to production in order to develop the endless potentials that are abound in the state for investment.
“Our land must be used for wealth creation; I urge the youth to get involve in food production and I must say that we are ready to partner with the private sectors to exploit the business ideas.
“Bayelsa is a virgin waiting for a Bride for business; our land and sea are very ripe for business.
“I welcome all investors to the state and I must assure you that we have a conducive environment for a growing economy.
In her keynote address, The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kate Abiri, said that quick dispensation of justice would provide an enabling environment for investment.
Addressing potential investors, she said: “Bayelsa will not allow any corrupt investors in the state. We will do all we can to allow justice and your business must be in line with the much desired economic growth of the state government.”