What do you do when your income expectations unexpectedly continue to dwindle? When out of your control, you are unable to meet your statutory financial commitments? You naturally put on your thinking cap. Think out of the box and evolve workable solutions that can help sustain your dreams and vision of sustainable growth and development. That is the reality in Nigeria today. Most states are barely able to meet their first line charges, not to talk of infrastructural developments, among others.
Kwara State, thanks to the foresight and resourcefulness of her economic managers under Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, is trudging the path of economic recovery and stabilisation with the expected doggedness and innovativeness. It is true we are yet to be able to maximise our potentials in the non-oil sector, particularly, in the exploration of our mineral deposits, but right now what we have as asset in terms of land, is being put to profitable use, to attract our huge human resources and subsequently, expand the economic opportunities in the state.
Last week, Governor Ahmed performed the ground breaking ceremonies for the Harmony Hub (Computer Village). The N500 million project is the third major commercial property development in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, this year by Harmony Holdings Limited. Good enough, government has nothing to do with the provision of funding for each of the projects. At completion, the Computer Village, has capacity to create over 600 direct jobs and several hundreds indirect jobs within the ICT sector. It will be funded through contractor financing as well as pre-sales/off-taker arrangements. Off takers have the option of mortgage financing to be provided by Jaiz Bank Plc at 30 per cent equity contribution.
Little wonder an elated governor Ahmed described the Village as a demonstration of his administration’s determination to be a forerunner in the technology and digital economy. The project, according to Gov Ahmed, also announces Kwara State as the potential largest technology hub in Nigeria, outside Lagos State.
Hear him: “I am excited that this Computer Village will directly employ about 600 youths when fully operational, apart from the hundreds of indirect jobs that will be created in the process of its construction. Apart from improving the aesthetics of our environment through convergence of ICT players, the Computer Village will also provide IT practitioners a platform to showcase their products to a wider audience.
“It also promises to be an innovation cluster with webs of interconnected technology companies, customers and suppliers. On our part, we will continue to work with the network of investors, and other stakeholders represented here, to deepen the supporting infrastructure and ensure that quality standards are maintained across board to accelerate the momentum of the ICT sector in Kwara State.
“It is well known that technology is a major driver of economic development. Today, countries around the world are competing to be the next centres of technological innovations and the associated prosperity. Nigeria is not left out. Indeed, Nigeria’s ICT sector is reputed as the largest in Africa with $18b investments and 28 per cent internet penetration as of 2013. The implication is that ICT in Nigeria is not only advancing at a rapid rate but it also offers immense opportunities for investments and jobs.
“As a consequence, my administration is developing a sustainable technology model that will continually ensure job and wealth creation. To this end, we have resolved to strongly utilise entrepreneurship as the platform for engaging our teeming youths and for creating wealth for all while leveraging on technology as a broad platform for attaining these lofty aims.
“While it is true that technology, especially ICT, is reducing the human interface in provision of goods and services, such expertise is also creating new platforms for youth jobs and livelihoods.Through projects such as this Computer Village, and the International Vocational and Technical Centre, Ajase Ipo, therefore, we are establishing platforms for the skills and entrepreneurship necessary for productively engaging our youths.
“This is because our youths comprise the largest component of our population and must be economically empowered in the interest of our wellbeing, peace of mind and future. Consequently, the ground-breaking ceremony of this Computer Village is another major step towards realising this objective, as we all recognise that ICT is pivotal to ensuring that our employable youths lead productive and fulfilling lives.”
Kwarans from all over the world ought to lend their hands of fellowship and support to innovative projects like the Computer Village which has capacity to capture the growing number of young people making waves in the ICT sector. We should back these projects , even with prayers, instead of anyone rising up to play politics with its evolution, management and eventual success. This is no time to play politics but rather a time to pursue the Kwara Agenda with the unity of purpose for the future of our children.
The truth, as pointed out by governor Ahmed at the event, is that both the Board, Management and staff of Harmony Holdings Ltd and HHL Investment & Property Development Company Ltd (HIPDC) are actively tapping into the governor’s vision and they need to be encouraged. As pointed out by the governor, both organisations are making giant strides by changing the face of commercial property development in Kwara State and beyond while the feedback on the patronage of their properties in Kwara and Abuja under ‘Harmony Hub’ franchise is commendable and encouraging.
Mr. Tope Daramola, GMD of Harmony Holdings Limited at the ceremony so eloquently justified the rationale for picking investment in the ICT sector at the ceremony. He said: “Computers have become an electronic device of almost every day use for individuals of every age. They are essential in almost all the business dealings that are made nowadays. It is because of this importance that Harmony Holdings decided to build this Hub which will serve as a technological Heaven in Kwara State.
The computer hub is intended to reorganise the way IT business is done in Kwara State. On completion the edifice will not just be a market for genuine software and hardware only, but where you can find bargains on computer and related products.It will also serve as a centre of knowledge for software coding and it will also be equipped with a game centre for entertainment.
The two storey building is elegant with cutting-edge aesthetic design spanning 4,600 administration’s infrastructural investments. It is an opportunity for both those selling computers and its accessories as well as for investors who can rent out their spaces to businesses.
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