In a bid to underscore the importance of diversifying the economy and attracting more industries to Anambra State, Governor Willy Obiano has confirmed that the concise Economic Blueprint, made up of the four pillars of development; including agriculture, industrialisation, trade and commerce and oil and gas he developed on assumption of office has started yielding dividends.
The governor who spoke in Abuja in an interactive session he had with the people of the state living in the North-central part of the country, stated that the state was now a socially stable, business-friendly environment attracting both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creation opportunities.
To this end, he told the audience including the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili both members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in the National Assembly, former Governor Chinweoke Mbadinuju and several others that the state investment agency, ANSIPPA, charged with the mandate of attracting and fast-tracking investments in the state, has so far attracted over $4.2billion deals to the state.
The latest investment, he confirmed, was sealed on Tuesday last week with Zolt Energy Limited to build a 40 megawatts embedded power generating plant in Ogbaru.
When completed in the next 18 months as scheduled, all the power generated from it would be distributed mainly in Anambra State.
On the state of agriculture, Obiano who was giving a score card of his two and half years stay in office disclosed that “in January this year, Anambra made headlines when it became the first state in Nigeria to export vegetables (Ugu and Onugbu) valued at $5million to Europe. At the same time, our locally-produced brand of rice known as Anambra Rice recently emerged the ‘Best Rice in Africa’ at an African products forum in Lagos. Anambra Rice was adjudged better and more wholesome than other competing brands from South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia and Cameroun.
“Our agricultural sector has also attracted investments from seven companies valued at $1.011billion, while the large industrial farms have pushed our local rice production from 90,000 metric tons to 210,000 metric tonnes. At this rate, we shall soon surpass the 320,000 metric tonnes we consume in Anambra State per annum.”
Obiano told the capacity crowd that the Oil and Gas Advisory Committee headed by the former Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egboga, had been charged with drafting a comprehensive blueprint for the oil and gas sector and advising the state on the necessary steps that would ensure the recognition of Anambra as the 10th oil producing state in Nigeria.
“We have opened access to the oil fields by completing the 280-metre long bridge on the 42-kilometre road across to the Omambala River in Aguleri. We are also building two other bridges to the oil fields through Umueje in Ayamelum and Umudiora in Anambra West Local Government Areas.”
According to the governor, there was no access to the oilfields of Aguleri before now, as it could only be accessed through Enugu State.
“We have concluded plans to pipe ATK (aviation fuel) from the Orient Petroleum Refinery to the proposed cargo Airport in Umueri where a storage facility will be built for it. The idea is for the airport to serve as a major hub for the re-fuelling of international flights in West Africa.”
The governor who believes that the people of Anambra have the know-how and the resources to turn the state into a model, appealed that they “should bring your money home to Anambra State and invest it there. Anambra is the safest state in Nigeria today and our rating is growing every day in the investment community.”
Obiano who said the state was now safe, after listing how he was able to run out kidnappers and criminals, confirmed that though he is targeting an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of N2.2 billion , he has been able to move it from N500m to N1.2billion in the last two years.