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Speech-H.E Senator Liyel Imoke, Governor, Cross River State
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Speech-H.E Senator Liyel Imoke, Governor, Cross River State


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The speech is from H.E Senator Liyel Imoke, Executive Governor Cross River State, and Host of the just concluded African Round Table & Conference on Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility …

The speech is from H.E Senator Liyel Imoke, Executive Governor Cross River State, and Host of the just concluded African Round Table & Conference on Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (AR-CSR™), which held in Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar, Cross River State between 20 to 21 June, 2013. Organised by ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited.

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  • 1. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) CHIEF HOST’S SPEECH AT THE 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) PROTOCOLS As the chief host of the Africa CEO Roundtable & Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility here in Calabar, I would like to formally and warmly welcome all this year’s participants to the 2013 edition of this conference. Our beloved city and indeed, Cross River State is fast establishing itself as the premier destination for business and leisure in Nigeria and it is undoubtedly the hub of the tourism industry in our country. We are delighted to welcome the participants of this forum back here as this is the second year in a row which we have hosted this event. I would particularly like to congratulate the organisers of this event for a successful outing last year and also commend their choice of Calabar as the host city for this year’s edition.
  • 2. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) We are glad that the partnership between Cross River State and Thistle Praxis is fruitful and mutually beneficial as we look to make this event synonymous with a forum for the exchange of constructive, progressive ideas, insight and development solutions in a global context particularly for African economic development. With a vast array of knowledgeable and influential speakers from all over the world bringing together a formidable collection of discerning and perceptive ideas that would help forge a nurturing environment for sustainable development and socio-economic growth, this is exactly the sort of conference we need to strongly associate ourselves with in Cross River State. My brief in this short opening address was to set the tone for discussions by elucidating my administration’s efforts at establishing sustainable development milestones, reaching our targets, attracting investment and private sector growth and participation as well as presenting opportunities for further collaboration. Rather than following a prescriptive analysis of our achievements and successes, I’d rather summarily present a narrative of our journey thus far, putting it all in a more appreciable context as opposed to
  • 3. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) a checklist. Cross River State had already articulated a 15-year Economic Blueprint to help direct the developmental agenda for the state. At the start of this administration we were determined to continue the implementation of this blueprint through a streamlined and rationalised approach to executing the following objectives:  Make agriculture more productive and rewarding by encouraging the adoption of agricultural best practices and ensuring that investment in the sector is strategic and adaptable.  Grow the tourism industry by enhancing existing tourist sites, developing new sites, and initiating and strengthening tourism activity in the State, particularly through the provision of a well regulated conducive environment.  Expand access to and affordability of qualitative education to empower the youths with the relevant skills to compete in the emerging knowledge Economy.  Institutionalize basic health care by providing a Primary Health Care Delivery System that meets the needs of both urban and rural communities.
  • 4. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR)  Develop a strong private sector driven economy by growing the purchasing power of Cross Riverians and encouraging private enterprise and strengthening the real sector of the State economy.  Build, upgrade and maintain infrastructure of transportation, electricity supply, communication, and water supply in urban as well as rural communities.  Preserve the physical environment through conservation and promotion of environmentally-friendly practices in development and lifestyle. The quintessential ethos of this administration is that government should work primarily for those who need government the most. Our vision is to create a prosperous state inhabited by healthy and happy people living in harmony with their environment in peace and security. We quickly realised that we needed to take a more holistic approach to development and that perspective is what has driven our social development agenda. However, to achieve our objectives, we have had to adopt a specific and distinct credo based on specific tenets of governance such as a reformist administration agenda and improved governance structures to
  • 5. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) enable a stronger partnership with international development agencies, a politically stable democracy with strong support for the growth of a vibrant private sector-driven economy and a firm legal environment with sector-specific state laws particularly designed to protect investment. We have also sought to create a stable economic environment with prudent fiscal management and targeted Corporate Social Responsibility partnerships. In real terms, we have had to revamp our key critical structures of governance. The civil service, a much maligned instrument of administration, plagued by indiscipline, corruption, malfeasance and a grossly inadequate work ethic, has seen a change in fortunes in Cross River. A competitive examination process and tangible criteria for promotion have meant that we are now putting our best of our workforce at the forefront of delivering the service mandate. Training and skills development as well as an improved work environment have shown that investment in our people can achieve constructive results. A root-to-branch restructuring of the Local Government system, complete with transparency in procurement, accountability in administration
  • 6. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) and judiciously applied funding plans, has meant that the rural populace can finally start to reap the rewards of a fully democratised tier of government. In response to external financial challenges and in recognition of the need to raise the state’s revenue profile, we have deployed ICT systems to automate internal revenue generation processes as well as engaged consultants to strengthen the tax administration system in the state. The other side of this coin is the creation and empowerment of a Due Process and Price Intelligence Unit to ensure accountability and transparency in government procurement process in an end to guarantee value for money and check wastage through inflated contracts. Ladies and gentlemen, the one thing that attracts investment and business is a keen recognition of opportunities for robust growth and an environment for such growth to flourish. Through the Cross River State Investment Promotion Bureau’s One Stop Investment Centre, we have made it easier and more expedient to attract such crucial investment to the State. Two days ago, General Electric broke ground for the establishment of a $1bn Manufacturing and
  • 7. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) Training Facility at the Calabar Free Trade Zone. Another Fortune 500 company, Wilmar International, is investing $400m in a 50,000 ha Palm Plantation and processing plant which will eventually evolve into a state-of-the-art refinery. Along with other investors such as the Dangote Group, UNICEM, Flour Mills, Lionsteel West Africa, Oriental Energy and Essar Power, Cross River State’s investment portfolio is in excess of $2bn and is likely to rise to $4bn in the next 2 years. The consequent job creation and eventual wealth creation cannot be underestimated. Approximately 50,000 jobs are expected to be directly created from this investment profile and even more will occur along the value-chain. Our investment in our people has also yielded significant dividends. Our comprehensive reform programme for our schools has witnessed a substantial improvement of the state’s examination performance as compared with other states. Cross River is in the top percentile for national examination performance and educational reform in Nigeria. We have also made great strides with respect to healthcare. To date, Cross River is the only state in the country
  • 8. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) that has recorded a zero infant and maternal mortality rate in some of our Local Governments. This is testament to the investments we have made in ensuring that primary healthcare delivery institutions especially at the rural areas are fit for purpose and effective agents for medical intervention. Our Project HOPE which provides free healthcare to pregnant women and children under the age of 5 has been pivotal in achieving this significant milestone. To enable our people fully benefit from the increased investment exposure we have set up the Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA) to equip our people with the capacity to exploit opportunities which will arise from a more vibrant business environment here in Cross River. We are also partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria to establish the Enterprise Development Centre here in Calabar targeted at developing critical entrepreneurial skills in our youth. In addition, Project COMFORT is a social intervention programme aimed at incentivising people to adopt vocational training which will make them for employable and ready to be assimilated into the job market.
  • 9. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) As we continue to drive our vision of being the leading service-driven economy in Nigeria. We have recently embarked on the construction of the world-class Calabar International Convention Centre with a 2000-seater main auditorium which resides in a new development area of Calabar that will also include a 3-star hotel, International Golf Course, Specialist Medical Facility, private residential developments as well as a Special Conservation Area in keeping with our environmental conservation credentials. The end of this month will also witness the launch of the first indigenous Nigerian satellite TV channel with all its content being produced at the state-of-the-art, purpose-built Studio Tinapa here in Calabar. We have also collaborated with the Federal ICT Ministry and other related agencies to launch the Tinapa Knowledge City, an ICT development centre which will include the only software incubation centre in this part of the country. The picture which I hope has been portrayed in this narrative is one of a meticulously- engineered series of plans driven by various programmes which consist of projects that have a tangible, concrete long-term impact on the people of Cross River. For us in Cross River, it
  • 10. 2013 AFRICA CEO ROUNDTABLE & CONFERENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (AR-CSR) is imperative that sustainability and continuity are built into the implementation of all our programmes and that is why we have been able to engender partnership and collaboration not just with the donor and development agencies but also with federal MDAs and most importantly, the private sector. As we look to consolidate on our progress thus far, we are acutely aware that we have some way to go and we are constantly looking to improve on our efforts. Nevertheless, we are emboldened by our successes and we will be unrelenting in our pursuit of more success as we seek to meaningfully impact on the lives of all Cross Riverians across the state. Thank you for listening.