Rotimi Amaechi, Governor, Rivers State.

Former British Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, today in Government House, Port Harcourt, called on governments of Nigeria to join in the fight against youth unemployment  which globally stands at 80 million by introducing reforms that would attract private partnership that will create more jobs.

Brown made the call in his keynote address at the Rivers State Investors Forum facilitated by the private business sector hosted by the Rivers State Government at Government House, Port Harcourt, southsouth Nigeria.

In her own presentation Dr(Mrs) Okonjo-Iweala, the minister of Finance and Coordinator of Economic Planning, said as part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s policy of ensuring stability that would attract investors that would help create jobs for the unemployed, there are stimulated reforms in the banking sector, capital market, housing, oil and gas to make the country investment-friendly for the private sector.

As part of the reforms, Iweala stated that the federal government has taken a decisive step in port reforms by reducing the agencies that operate at the ports that frustrate the quick clearing of goods for import and export due to corruption.

“We are already clearing goods within one week at the Ports but our target is to get goods cleared within 24 hours without unnecessary bottlenecks,”she said.

She also disclosed that  all grey areas of Sovereign Wealth Fund that the Governors Forum kicked against have been ironed out so that Nigeria can save for tomorrow for her children with a take off fund of $1billion to be contributed by the 36 states.

She acknowledged that none of reforms would work unless there is a synergy among the federal, state, local governments and the private sector.

In his opening remarks, the host, Governor Chibuike Amaechi said his administration has tried to make the state investor-friendly by tackling the issue of insecurity headlong that was a challenge in 2007.

According to the Convener Atedo N.A. Peterside, founder Stanbic IBTC Bank, the forum is first of its kind to be hosted by Government House in Port Harcourt.

Its theme, “Change That Works”, he said, is to draw attention of investors to Rivers and Nigeria.

By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt