Lagos, Enugu Governors Jostle for Investors at LCCI’s Invest Nigeria Expo 2023

Lagos, Enugu Governors Jostle for Investors at LCCI’s Invest Nigeria Expo 2023

•Sanwo-Olu says state committed to being Nigeria’s preferred investment destination

•Mbah woos investors with pledge to grant C of O within 72hrs, de-risked investment environment

Dike Onwuamaeze

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Enugu State counterpart, Dr. Peter Mbah, yesterday jostled for Nigerian and international investors, wooing them to their respective states at “International Business Conference and Expo 2023 Invest Nigeria,” that took place in Lagos State.

The business conference was organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FMFA).

The conference was graced by the Ambassador of Peoples Republic of China in Nigeria, Mr. Gui Jian Chun; High Commissioner of India in Nigeria, Mr. G. Balasubramamam; Ambassador of Mexico in Nigeria, Mr. Alfredo Miranda; Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in Nigeria, Dr. H. Usra Hendra Harahap and Ambassador of Burkina Faso in Nigeria, Mr. Passida Pascal Gouba.

Sanwo-Olu, said the conference was an opportunity to showcase Lagos State, “as the preferred destination for investment and bustling hub of opportunities for both local and foreign investors,” Mbah enticed investors with improved ease of doing business in Enugu State that included getting Certificate of Occupancy within 72 hours and de-risked investment environment in the state’s tourism, real estate, untapped mineral resources, ICT, agriculture, logistics and aviation sectors.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo, said: “We recognise that a vibrant investment landscape is essential for sustainable development and it is our pledge to continue to create an environment that fosters innovation, productivity and sustainable growth.

“In our pursuit of promoting a conducive environment for thriving investments, Lagos State offers compelling incentives to both foreign and local investors.

“We believe in rewarding those who believe in our vision, and as such, we have remained strong in our commitment to implementing business friendly policies, providing incentives and streamlined regulatory processes that promotes ease of doing business in the state.

“These incentives are a testament to our dedication to fostering a mutually beneficial partnership that stimulates economic advancement and job creation.

“Our commitment to progress is further encapsulated in the implementation of our THEMES+agenda; an  acronym for Traffic and Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism, and Security and Governance,” adding that “the ‘+’ signifies a renewed focus on social inclusion, gender equality and youth development, with a ‘no one left behind’ philosophy, which is the thrust of our agenda in this second term.”

He also intimated the business audience that the state’s “aspirations extend far beyond short-term objectives. We are guided by the Lagos State 30-year Development Plan, a blueprint that envisions a Lagos that is sustainable, livable and globally competitive.

“With this plan as our compass, and which was developed with in partnership with the organised private sector at the last Ehingbeti Economic Summit, we are making strategic investments in infrastructure, energy and urban development and renewal to ensure that the prosperity we build today endures for generations to come.”

In his remarks, Mbah, wooed Nigerian and international investors to either partner with the state government or invest directly in business opportunities that abound in the state with promise of considerable economic returns.

Mbah, identified tourism, real estate, untapped mineral resources, ICT, logistics and aviation, as well as agriculture as among the teeming investment opportunities in the Enugu State.

He added that he would formerly trigger the state government’s engagements with the private investors with the inaugural, “Investors Roundtable on September 1, 2023, in Enugu to unveil a $2.1billion project pipeline to local and international investors.

The governor recalled the discovery of coal in Enugu in 1909 and said that his administration is building partnership with the private sector to unlock the capital market, attract investments and retake the state’s place in the local and global economy.

He said: “Enugu is now open for business. We are markedly revisiting our ‘ease of doing business’ indicators to ensure the environment is conducive for business. For example, our new land title processes will facilitate the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy in not more than three days or 72 hours.

“Processes for the procurement of building approvals will also be revisited and markedly reduced to achieve improved efficiency.

“We are automating all our major government processes to ensure transparency in all aspects of engagement with government and facilitate self-service by the public with little or no need for physical engagement with public servants.

“We are also willing to de-risk business investment in key sectors by providing access to land, providing support infrastructure, handling engagement with host communities, among others.”

Speaking on investment opportunities in agriculture and agro-industry, Mbah said the state was  positioning itself to take advantage of its, “proven strong factor productivity in the areas of some key segments of agriculture by opening up another 300,000 hectres of farmland for cultivation of focus crops and animal production,” adding that focused crops and animal production opportunities in the state included cassava, soyabean, oil palm production, cashew, and Nsukka pepper.

He said his administration would revive plantation cultivation of crops that are, “veritable export commodities with large and growing global market size projected to reach about $7 billion by 2025.”

He added that investment opportunities in poultry, piggery, and fishery were large, while Enugu’s geographical position as the gateway to the north made it attractive for agro-processing investments.

Mbah, noted that investments in logistics and aviation would be quite lucrative in Enugu State as survey has shown that about 40 per cent of the air cargo imported via Lagos was actually destined for the South-east and South-south.

He said: “In the area of logistics and aviation, we are investing extensively in our logistics and aviation sector to make transit through and to Enugu efficient and seamless.

“To achieve this, we are prioritising development of a cargo terminal for the Enugu International Airport to facilitate the direct receipt of cargo in Enugu as opposed to the current practice of shipping into Lagos airport and then undertaking the arduous and expensive overland journey to the South-east by truck. The terminal will also facilitate the export of agro-produce direct from Enugu.”

He also listed the planned development of light rail in collaboration with other South-east governments and development of modern logistics centres at key cross-roads like Obollo Afor and Ninth Mile Corner as other investment opportunities.

The governor also emphasised opportunities in tourism where the state government has taken the lead with the refurbishing and reactivating the prestigious Presidential Hotel, Enugu and completing the International Conference Centre adding that his administration is opening up the real estate sector by, “developing a New Town, which would offer 60,000 household living spaces.”

He explained that his administration was working with the federal government to attract investors for the production of natural gas and crude oil as well as abundant solid minerals such as ironstone, zinc, lead, limestone, kaolin.

He further listed investment opportunities in ICT, which he said remained a priority to the government.

In his welcome address, the President of LCCI, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, said that this conference would provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the Nigerian economy and identify investment opportunities.

Mbah to Unveil $2.1bn Project Pipeline as Enugu Holds Inaugural Investment Roundtable

Meanwhile, Mbah would this Friday, unveil a N1.6 trillion ($2.1 billion) pipeline of 30 projects at the first Enugu State Investment and Economic Growth Stakeholder Roundtable.

The governor is also scheduled to launch the Enugu State Integrated Sector-Based Productivity Growth Strategy.

This was made known in a statement released by the Secretary of the State Government (SSG), Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, in Enugu.

He said the Investment and Economic Growth Roundtable, which was a precursor to the launch of the maiden multi-stakeholder and fully transactional Diaspora and Investment Forum scheduled for the second quarter of 2024, would hold in Enugu and also draw investors from across various industries locally and internationally.

“The N1.6 trillion ($2.1 billion) project pipeline spans several industries, including transportation and healthcare infrastructure, as well as energy, power, and agro-allied industrialisation.

“Senior executives from the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation, the African Export-Import Bank, the United Kingdom Department for Trade and Business, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), as well as the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund, commercial banks, corporate pension funds, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, and other domestic financial institutions will convene in Enugu to chart a course for effectively mobilising private capital for large-scale infrastructure projects, including net-zero aligned projects that can unlock Enugu State’s and South-Eastern Nigeria’s economic potential.

“The Roundtable discussion will cover a range of topics, including addressing barriers to investment and economic growth in Enugu State; improving investor confidence in the State understanding investor’s risk and return preferences; and identifying partnership opportunities for project preparation and co investments” he stated.

According to Onyia, this was in line with Mbah’s determination to grow the Enugu State economy from $4.4 billion to $30 billion.

“Implementation of the State’s Integrated Sector-Based Productivity Growth Strategy will ensure that those sectors with the greatest potential for growth are supported through measures to reduce unnecessary regulation and boost innovation and growth.

“The new administration recognises private investment as a key driver of long-term economic growth and prosperity, and the roundtable discussion will lay the groundwork for long-term partnerships and cooperation that can catalyse Enugu’s accelerated economic growth.

“Part of this administration’s agenda is the development of an Investment Plan for the Integrated Sector-Based Productivity Growth Agenda with a credible pipeline of projects that will advance transformative change in key sectors. When it is released, the Plan is expected to incentivise and encourage private sector investors, as well as other stakeholders, to participate in the financing and delivery of critical infrastructure investment projects.

“We are optimistic about the future of PPPs and investments in Enugu as we build a clear legal, institutional and policy framework that should provide the business-friendly environment that can enhance private sector participation and catalyse the scale of financing required to deliver these essential public infrastructure services.

“This investment roundtable is therefore the first step towards generating investment interest in these critical areas and charting a clear path to bankability for these projects,” he concluded.

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