By Joy Odor
The Nasarawa State government and ABS Blueprint Limited, a cutting edge firm providing solutions to modern day industry needs, have signed a joint venture agreement, for the establishment of the Nasarawa Technology Village, in Aso-Pada, Karu Local Government Area.
The agreement, estimated at N22bn, was signed during a ceremony at the Government House, on Monday.
Speaking shortly after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and representatives of the firm, Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the Nasarawa Technology Village, conceived in line with the idea behind the Silicon Valley in California, is aimed at attracting major international IT firms to the state.
According to Engineer Sule, the concept of the technology village was captured in his adminitration’s Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), with the site for the project selected because of its proximity to the Federal Capital.
The governor added that, this is coming mostly because of the relative peace being enjoyed across the state.
He explained that the choice of ABS Blueprint Limited as the partner for the project, underwent rigorous evaluation and assessment process, with the investors injecting over N20bn in the project.
Engineer Sule instructed the firm to commence work at the project site immediately, in order to create employment opportunities for youths in the state, stressing that, even though the Silicon Valley was built over a period of twenty years,, his administration is however, determined to leave a legacy for the future.
“We don’t have twenty years to spend here. For that reason, it must start small. Go and start the process, let the people see the employment opportunities that you are bringing, let them see the funding you are putting into the project,” he stated.
The governor however pointed out that, the partnership is not an opportunity for government officials to lay hands on money, since Nasarawa State is not expending a kobo on the project.
In his remarks, Muhammad Yamusa Suleiman, Group Managing Director, ABS Blueprint Limited, said his company has brought together a formidable consortium of partners and industry professionals, in the quest to develop the Nasarawa technology village.
Suleiman disclosed that the proposed technology village, is sitting on a 66000 hectares of land, comprising of a tech hub at the core, to be operated by the Decagon Learning Institute, which will provide fully handed training for up to 2000 students on IT.
He added that, Decagon will also secure and outsource IT jobs for the graduates upon completion of the program and becoming certified software engineers.
According to the GMD, the project also has an innovative, high-rise housing scheme, comprising blocks of 2&3 bedroom bungalows, as well as 1&2 bedroom flats, making a total of 1500 housing units, located on 10 hectares of land.
He explained that, the tech village will include a commercial centre, school, hospital and a religious centre.
The entire project is expected to provide 15000 direct jobs, as well as 60, 000 indirect jobs.
Suleiman commended the selection process, which he described as engaging, highly competitive and transparent and a testimony of the exemplary leadership being provided by the governor.
“You have set the bar high in good governance and the ease of doing business between the public and private sector,” he said.
The group managing director said his consortium is injecting N22bn in the project, to be funded by ABS Blueprint Limited, through the firm’s group of financiers.
Also commenting, Director General, Nasarawa Geographic information Service (NAGIS), Mr. Sonny Agassi, said the event marks another watershed in the history of PPPs, with the agreement further placing Nasarawa State on the map of states attracting investors.
During the signing ceremony, Barrister Ibrahim Abdullahi, MD/CEO, Nasarawa Investment and Development Agency (NASIDA) and Mr. Agassi, signed the agreement on behalf of the state government, while Suleiman, GMD ABS Blueprint Limited, signed on behalf of the consortium.