Enugu State Government yesterday witnessed a major breakthrough in its efforts to attract foreign investments in the state, with the presentation of a N300 million cheque to three communities of Ogwofia Owa, Enugu Eke and Akama Oghe by Lion Business Park Limited as compensation for the economic crops and structures on the 2000 hectares of land acquired for the development of the Lion Business Park industrial project in partnership with Chinese partners under the coordination of the company.
The Lion Business Park industrial project is a bold initiative of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration, designed to create a manufacturing and integrated industrial hub in Enugu State and the South East geopolitical zone at large and facilitate Chinese manufacturers’ entry into the state to feed the Nigerian and African market through the existing sales channels of Onitsha and Aba in partnership with Nigerian business organizations.
Presenting the cheque, Gov. Ugwuanyi who was represented by his Deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, stated that the project was in line with his administration’s efforts to attract foreign investments to the state, disclosing that the State Executive Council approved and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the group of Chinese Investors for the establishment of the Industrial Market, to be known as Lion Business Park.
The governor commended the company for the prompt fulfillment of the compensation aspect of the MOU and also expressed gratitude to the people of the three communities “for their wonderful understanding, partnership and cooperation in the entire process”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi appreciated the massive benefits that the Industrial Market will bring to the economy of the state, saying that it will stimulate investment inflow in diverse sectors of the economy and create a huge economic value chain that would engender employment as well as production and availability of “much needed goods and services”.
He reassured the foreign partners and all potential investors of the government’s resolve to sustain the business-friendly environment that currently exists in the state, stressing that “Enugu State is indeed ready and open for business”.
He equally thanked the state Ministry of Commerce and Industry, members of the land acquisition steering committee and all those who assisted in ensuring a successful acquisition of the land as well as the enumeration and evaluation of the economic trees on it.
In his remark, the Chairman of Lion Business Park Limited, Dr. Okechukwu Mbonu commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for his “great vision in making Enugu State a West African industrial hub”, saying that the company is only complementing what his administration has already started in the state.
Dr. Mbonu assured the governor of the foreign partners’ determination to actualize their mandate in a record time, thanking the host communities for the support and understanding.
In his opening address, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barr. Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo disclosed that the event was “a major breakthrough geared towards the full actualization of the investment vision of the present administration of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi”.
Barr. Ogbu-Nwobodo noted that the project was an outcome of the 2016 Oganiru Enugu State Investment Summit that thrives on the existing trade cooperation between Nigerian business organizations and their foreign counterparts especially from China for the purpose of furthering their mutual interests.
The commissioner stated that the state government’s vision “is to create a conducive and profitable environment for Chinese companies to produce in Nigeria ahead of other countries and to enhance strong and enduring bi-lateral ties between the Peoples Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
While thanking Gov. Ugwuanyi for his firm commitment to investment promotion in the state, the commissioner stated that the milestone achievement was in keeping with the governor’s inaugural address that his administration “will drive with full force investment promotion…” and “provide the necessary legal and policy framework to make investment thrive in the state”.
Barr. Ogbu-Nwobodo said that the remarkable feat recorded towards the commencement of the project in the state was the fruit of the governor’s “focused and genuine commitment to the rapid industrial and general economic development of the state”, borne out of his deep devotion to the welfare of the people of Enugu State.
He added that the governor’s interactive sessions with the Traditional Rulers, Presidents General of the various communities and most importantly, about fifty-one indigenous Professors from the area, during the process of acquiring the land were “quite engaging and productive”.
According to the commissioner, “this ingenious and unprecedented approach made the entire acquisition exercise very smooth. The governor gave the entire process a human face, demonstrating very clearly that his government is that of the people, for the people and by the people – which is the hallmark of democracy.
“Following this noble example, the committee actively engaged the entire communities in a transparent and honest way, with community visitations, town hall meetings and several other meetings, all aimed at sensitizing the people of Ogwofia owa, Enugu Eke, and Akama Oghe communities of the socio-economic importance of the investment, which attracted them to support this critical industrial development.
“This achievement we are witnessing today is one of the remarkable impacts in the life of this administration, which have ushered in enduring peace and good governance in the state backed by vision, unprecedented infrastructural development, innovation, fiscal discipline, transparency and other structural and institutional initiatives, aimed at driving massive investment inflow into the state’s economy”.