By Obinna Chima
Enugu state has said that its forthcoming investment summit scheduled to hold from April 12 – 14, 2016, is expected to be the pathway for it to commence the privatisation of about 17 moribund companies in the state.
The Director-General of ‘Oganiru,’ the brand name for the summit, Mr. Ike Chioke, disclosed this to journalists in Lagos yesterday.
According to Chioke, the companies to be privatised include five agricultural firms, three hotels, a transport company, marketing company, among others. Chioke said the move would held revive the commercial and economic base of the state.
He said the state which used to be very strong in agriculture needs to take steps to revive the sector.
“Once upon a time, we had a vegetable oil processing in the state, which used to process palm oil from palm kernel coming out of United Palm products, which used to be another huge palm plantation. It had palm trees going as far as over 10 hectares of land.
“It used to be a very beautiful place. We had Premier Cashew, Ada Rice and the state was sustainable. As at that time, there was nothing like oil and we were just an agrarian based state. In addition, the state was privileged to have been the capital of eastern Nigeria and had hospitality as part of its business.
“It had a 5-star presidential hotel and had built Nike Lake Resort and the state had a zoo, wild life and game reserve. Outside of agriculture and tourism, the state was also very strong in industry. So, all of these things have all shrunk to become a shadow of itself. So, we decided to start from the platform we already had. The governor also looked at the fact that there is a state law on privatisation and commercials ation which was passed in 2008 by the former administration.
“So, the idea of the summit is to tell investors that Enugu is open for business, Enugu is serious for business and we have created the enabling framework and we are going to showcase all we have. So, the idea of this summit is to sensitise investors and coming out of this summit, we would start the process of privatising these companies,” he added.
The Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, have all been confirmed as speakers at the summit which holds in Enugu.