By Martha Agas
Abuja, Jan. 22, 2021 The Plateau Government says it is seeking partnership with France to harness and develop the abundant mineral resources in the state.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau made the disclosure on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier, at the French Embassy in Abuja .
Lalong, who led a delegation of some of his cabinet members, said that collaboration in the areas of development of the mineral resources, intervention and technical expertise were vital .
“This visit is to discuss some of our state’s economic potential with you and explore ways we can collaborate for investments and exchanges that will benefit our people on both sides.
“I also wish to seek your support in facilitating grants, intervention funds, technical partnerships and investment linkages for harnessing minerals like tin, columbite, granites, lead and zinc, copper among others,” he said.
According to him, part of his economic blue print is focused on mineral development, agriculture and tourism, hence the need to engage both domestic and foreign investors under a public private partnership arrangement to achieve the feat.
The governor urged the ambassador to visit Plateau’s One Stop Investment Centre to explore the many business potentials available in the state.
He said that Plateau was also ready to engage with France in areas of education, culture and tourism, including renewable energy, rural water supply and agriculture.
In his response, the French Ambassador promised to strengthen diplomatic ties with Plateau by wooing private sector investments in agriculture and the mineral sector from France.
“We are aware that you have many minerals in Plateau, and we know agriculture is a priority for Plateau and Nigeria as a whole, just as is it for France.
“Since Plateau has a very good climate for growing almost every kind of agricultural crops and vegetables like strawberries, we see a lot of ways we can work together with Nigerian investors.
“We will be interested in making our working relationship stronger and we will connect you with private companies to partner with you in the areas of agriculture and mineral development,” Pasquier assured.
While commending Lalong for putting in place a strategic plan on agriculture, the ambassador said that France was also working with the University of Jos and the Nigerian Film Institute to promote culture
He said that the French government was happy to support other peace initiatives as pursued by Lalong and that his commitment would further entrench the fight against terrorism and criminality, of which is a global concern.