From Daniel Abogonye, Lafia

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State yesterday performed the groundbreaking for the construction of Karu Retail and Recreational Centre to boost economic activities around the Abuja corridors.

The N2 billion project sited at the Muhammadu International Market Karu is being executed in collaboration with The Mall company under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Sule, while flagging off the project, said it was a dream come true and in line with the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS) document, his administration’s development blueprint for the state.

The governor said his administration had leveraged on the proximity of Karu to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to attract several investments for the socioeconomic development of the state.

He noted that the Karu Retail and Recreational Centre was a significant offering both for economic and social impact on the state as it had already attracted a retail industry giant, ShopRite.

Sule expressed optimism that the project would create job opportunities for the teeming youth in the state.

He indicated that the project would be an architectural masterpiece that would not only transform the landscape of the area, but would improve the infrastructural development rating of Karu and attract more attention to the Muhammadu Buhari International Market.

“The mall is therefore, a critical safe to unlock the Nasarawa potential and build a self sufficient economy that allows citizens to strive, to compensate the hardworking and protect the vulnerable and sustain what we have for the future generation,” Sule said.

The governor promised that government would build a world-class pedestal bridge to link the Centre with the modern bus terminal, fitted with electronic advertisement platform that would generate additional revenue for the state.

He urged both private and public sector investors to take advantage of the business climate and ease of doing in the state saying, “Nasarawa is no longer a civil service state but a destination for investment.”

Earlier, Mr Yahaya Yahaya, CEO of The Mall company, said the project to be completed within One year, would feature ShopRite as the retail anchor and a well-balanced tenants mix of indigenous and international food retail chains.

Yahaya said it would also feature restaurants, electronic and gadget stores, fashion retailers, pharmacies and other line tenants.

He said that the Centre would also have an expansive recreational park and children’s playground, while retaining the ecological footprint of the site for the benefit of the people.

He maintained that the development of a modern retail and recreational park in Nasarawa was beyond building a shopping mall, but providing an opportunity for the agriculture sector to grow as food would move from the farm to shelf and to the table.

Yahaya thanked the state government and other stakeholders for the opportunity to be part of the development of the state.

Also, the Managing Director of Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency (NASIDA) Mr Ibrahim Abudullahi, said the project was a landmark partnership for the retail sector in the state.

He pointed out that Gov Sule was poised to revitalising the economy of the state through private sector participantion.

Abdullahi, therefore, encouraged other investors to take advantage of the business – friendly environment created by the administration, to invest in Nasarawa State.

He said that NASIDA, as a one-stop-shop agency for investors in the state is always ready guide investors in order to ensure profitable investment in the state.

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