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Centenary City: FG woos investors

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government on Tuesday in Abuja continued with the programmes lined up to celebrate 100 years of the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates despite threats of protest from some civil society groups.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, during an investors' forum organised as part of the programme, unveiled the Abuja Centenary City, which was planned to promote international and local businesses, while boosting economic activities in the country.

According to him, the city will create a solid example for the future of urban development in the country.

'The new smart city will be built on a stretch of 1,000 hectares of land in Abuja, making it the second but largest city development in history,' Anyim said.

He said the business hub would attract a record 500,000 visitors everyday, adding that 'by the end of its five-year development cycle, this innovative and vibrant city would have created over 50,000 construction jobs and 5,000 permanent well-paying jobs.'

Also speaking, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, said, 'We must re-orientate our minds to the fact that this city will also house middle income earners who work within the city, but the principle of this development is to reposition Nigeria as the cultural, commercial and entertainment capital of the continent.'

When asked of what impact the city would have on the largely unemployed population, the minister said, 'We provide opportunities for wealth creation. This is an investment forum where we desire to see the expression of interest from investors who are ready to buy into the concept and any information that will give the number of jobs that will be available at the completion of the project will not be realistic.

'Government will not throw up that kind of information because it is not backed up by facts.'

On the security challenges in the country and the threat they posed to investors' interest in Nigeria, an engineer with Tosoni, an Italian construction company based in Verona, Sergio Lo Guidice, said it was a matter that could be solved, adding, 'We are working in Libya, we have worked in Saudi Arabia.'

'This country needs to dialogue and go out of the security issues. At the moment, you need specialised people like investors, in addition to technology and good solutions. We don't have to wait for everything to be solved completely before we can come in; we perceive that the process is ongoing and the country has a proud population and all the potential. I don't think security is a problem in this country.'