Captains of industry and prospective investors of South-East extraction have expressed their readiness to key into the investment and economic growth plans of the Dr. Peter Mbah-led Enugu State government.
They expressed satisfaction with the administration’s effort at rallying local domestic business leaders and de-risking the state’s business environment, stressing that investments go to where the risks are less and return on investment (ROI) is high.
This was even as Governor Mbah harped on synergic regional cooperation for economic development, saying a people could only get respect outside their land proportionate to the socio-economic growth in their own homeland.
The business moguls gave the indication in Enugu at the weekend during the inauguration of the Enugu Investors Network, an initiative of the Enugu State Government for mobilising domestic investment.
One of the many business leaders at the event, which also served as the inaugural roundtable of the Network, Dr. Sam Onyishi, CEO of Peace Group of Companies, commended the governor for improved security.
He urged Ndigbo to think home, emphasising that the long-term security of Igbo investment could only be guaranteed in their homeland.
“The government is thinking what I was thinking. The first thing that this government did was to work on the Monday sit-at-home. Two years ago, we did not go to work for 62 days. Last year, we did not go to work for 67 days. This year was going to be worse than that.
“Why I said that the government is thinking what I was thinking is because on the 23rd of November 2013, I told my family that I was not going to make any investment that is worth more than N1 billion outside the South-East.
“I am happy with this government. This is the first time that anybody is inviting me in Enugu State to come and have this kind of heart-to-heart discussion with the governor seated too. The other ones were a kind of ‘come, talk and go home.’ But this one is action. The governor says, ‘This is what we have and what we are going to do together’. It is straight to the point.
“We must be plain and frank with ourselves. So, I do not want to talk about what Nigeria is and what Nigeria is not. As far as I am concerned, I am made for where I come from. Charity begins at home.”
Corroborating, the Chairman of Coscharis Group, Sir Cosmas Maduka, said the Group had since turned homeward, investing heavily in agriculture, among others, in Anambra State and would be eager to explore any of the outlined investment opportunities in Enugu State.
“I want to thank the Governor for thinking alike. However, security is a priority for a true investor, and it is the role of government. That is why I said that investment capital goes where it is safe.
“But you are on the right track. If opportunity presents itself, I would be interested, and that is why we are here”, Maduka stated.
In his remarks, Governor Mbah, who recalled how Dr. Michael Okpara turned the Eastern Region economy around by assembling eminent personalities such as constitute the Enugu Investors Network, said the narratives of insecurity, economic underdevelopment, laxity, and lack of ambitious development initiatives could be changed as they did not represent people of the South-East.
“So, we now have a government in Enugu State that has expressed a humongous vision and ambition as to where we want to see Enugu in the next four to eight years under our watch. We proposed to grow this economy from $4.4 billion to $30 billion to become one of the top players in Nigeria by GDP in the next four to eight years.
“This growth we envision in Enugu is not one that is going to come through the public sector. We expect that the growth would come from investments from the private sector.
“So, my intention here today is to elicit your engagement, your questions, and indeed your involvement on how we can grow Enugu’s economy and, by extension, the South-East economy”, Mbah stated.
Earlier in their remarks, the Secretary to Enugu State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia and the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Adaora Chukwu, said the launch of the Enugu Investors Network underscored the fact that while it was important to look outward for global partnerships, the domestic business leaders were key to Enugu actualising its potential and experiencing irreversible growth and prosperity.
“This administration plans to grow the economy from the inside to outside, putting domestic industry at the centre of our economic plans”, Onyia stated.
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