Sylvester Idowu in Warri
A two-day forum tagged â€˜Warri Economic Summitâ€™ with the aim of reviving the maritime and businesses in the oil rich city has been slated for May 17 and 18 this month.
The summit is also aimed at identifying and articulating issues militating against the development of the city as well as tailor government policies to suit the needs of commerce and industry in Warri.
The event is also to draw national and international attention to the economic and security challenges attendant on the non-dredging of the approaches to the Warri sea port as well as identify growth and profit centres in the economy of Warri outside oil.
Chairman of Warri South Local Government Area, Mr. Michael Tidi at a pre-summit briefing weekend said the eventual outcome of the forthcoming Warri Economic Summit would revive maritime industry in the city.
He also said the forum would be an avenue to identify key sectors where Warri would excel with a view to optimising the opportunities in such sectors.
Tidi said the event being convened by his Local Government was aimed at making Warri a business destination.
â€œWe have the Warri port, we have several oil and gas servicing firms; we have a Warri Refinery and a whole lot of other businesses. We have the enterprising people of Warri.
â€œIt is in this vein that Warri South Local Government is opening its arms to businesses in and around Warri that would partner the Warri Economic Summit Group to initiate the first ever Warri Economic Summit.
â€œWarri needs to regain her pride as a business hub in Nigeria and West Africa. Warri began trading with Europe more than 500 years ago, that is 40 years before the discovery of America and has done so continuously.
â€œIn the history of her long business relationships with the outside world, there have been ebbs and tides depending on how the people of Warri took advantage of the opportunities that nature bestowed upon them. Every time the people of Warri realised their potential and rose to the occasion, surrounding cities have benefitted.
â€œThe time has come for Warri to take its destiny in its hands, and the Warri Economic Summit provides the perfect opportunity. The two-day star studded event will not just be a talk shop alone. Yes, we need to have a conversation about business conditions in Warri but, that is not the singular purpose of this event.
â€œWe want to achieve two major outcomes. First is to identify a few key sectors where Warri can be a leading name in three years.
â€œSecond, we want to identify what can be done to revive maritime trade in Warri in six months. If we can define a road map to achieve these goals at the end of the summit, we would have done very well. Beyond that, we must intensify efforts to implement whatever road map the business leaders of Warri draw for us.
â€œThe youths are not left out. The goal of all these efforts is to provide employment for our teeming and ever resourceful youths. I will, therefore, use this medium to call on our youths to cooperate with both government and businesses to put Warri back on the map as a business destinationâ€, he said.