Mbah Woos Investors for Planned $30bn Economy for Enugu

Gideon Arinze in Enugu

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, Mr. Peter Mbah, has rallied foreign governments and investors towards the exponential growth of the state’s economy from the present $4.4 billion to $30 billion in eight years.
Mbah also said his administration would make skills and vocational education compulsory for all indigenes and residents of Enugu State from the age of 12 to effectively address the challenge of unemployment and service the planned economic growth.
He made this known during the official opening of the Geoffrey Okoye University–European Business Park and Centre for Practical Skills (CPS) at Ugwuomu, Nike, Enugu.

Speaking at the event, which had in attendance the Ambassador of Hungary to Nigeria, Mr. Thomas Schlesinger; Minister Counsellor of Germany in Nigeria, Mr. Martin Huth; Country Director of the German Agency for International Cooperation, Mr. Markus Margner; Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, among others, Mbah said the initiative was in sync with his plans to catalyse skill and vocational education and de-risk investment inflow and make Enugu State a preferred destination for investment, for business, and living.
He said: “One of our strategic plans is the transition of Enugu State from a public sector-driven to a private sector-driven economic growth.
“Our goal is that shortly, this CPS and indeed the European Business Park would constitute one of the hubs for the emergence of small and medium scale businesses in our state.

“We have therefore proposed a humongous vision to the people of Enugu State that we are going to grow our economy from the current $4.4 to $30 billion. Such a proposal was tagged as crazy when such proposal was made, the reason being that in the last 21 years, we have only marginally grown the economy, and here we are saying we are going to have an exponential growth from $4.4 billion to $30 billion in eight years.
“Again, we want to create an environment for the private sector to thrive. So, we simply said that our mission is going to make Enugu State the preferred destination for investment, business, and living. So, we understand clearly that as a government, we are going to have to de-risk investment flow by the private sector into Enugu.

He added that “Made-in-Enugu” products would serve both domestic and foreign markets and would address the problem of unemployment, eradicate poverty, and also create opportunities for investors to explore other areas such as the new energy and mineral resources sector his soon-to-be administration is exploring.

On his part, an international energy investor from Europe, Mr. Jens-Christian Moller, expressed confidence in Mbah’s ability to achieve the “ambitious $30 billion economy”, adding that his company would be willing to invest in the state once he is elected.
He said the European contingent was interested in training Enugu people in Europe and bringing them back so that they could replicate the technical know-how and other skills in their home state.

 In his intervention, the Danish Consulate General in Nigeria, Per Christensen said they had their corporate investments and activities in Lagos state and one in Northern Nigeria, stressing that with the right policies, they were willing to have one in Enugu State to serve Eastern Nigeria as they had no corporate investments in the region yet.

Speaking at the event, the Director-General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Dr. Michael Spindelegger, said that the CPS and Business Park opened in the university was a unique collaboration meant to bring together migration expertise, a local university and the private sector to open up prospects for the local population, business location and companies, to attract small and medium-sized enterprises to Nigeria with its large and growing market of over 220 million people.

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