This Nigerian state gets serious about boosting private sector growth

Located just southeast of Nigeria’s capital Abuja, the State of Nasarawa is often overlooked to the benefits of the Federal Capital Territory or bigger industrial states like Kaduna to the north and Kogi to the south. But its government is actively trying to change that and developing new private sector cooperation to boost public infrastructure.

In August, its state executive council approved the set-up of five new public-private partnerships (PPPs) to boost development across the state and revitalize its economy. They notably follow the adoption of a new law setting up the Nasarawa Investment & Development Agecy (NASIDA) and concerted efforts to support private sector growth.

Chief amongst those projects is the Nasarawa Technology Village in partnership with ABS Blueprint and Modern Shelter. The PPP project integrates housing, technology centers and commercial facilities and echoes a similar venture developed in Abuja, the Abuja Technology Village Science and Technology Park (STP) and Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

In transport, the state is pushing ahead with the establishment of the Nasarawa Transport Company to support trade and investment. The initial steps notably rely on the construction of modern bus terminals in various stage of development across the state.

Healthcare is another priority with the concession of services offered within the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in the state capital, Lafia. The operations and maintenance and three key departments within the facility are being given to the private sector, including radiology, laboratory, and mortuary. The Concession Agreement for the Concession of Radiology and Lab Services was signed on September 6th this year with DNA Labs Limited. If successful, this innovative concession model would boost private sector investment in the state’s healthcare system while improving service delivery.

Because of their continued fiscal deficits and unstable macroeconomic outlook, most Nigerian states do not qualify to issue sub-national bonds that could support their infrastructure development. As a result, several state governments have been reviewing their legislation to become more competitive and attract private sector investment. The move is seen as encouraging to diversify economic activity beyond Lagos and creating a healthy competition between states.

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