The Enugu State Government and the Nigerian Government have partnered with South African investors, Simang Group, to revive the coal industry in Enugu.
This was disclosed when the investors visited Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu.
The investors stated that the principal objective of the investment drive was to use coal to generate electricity and then spin a chain of allied business activities for the benefit of the people of the South East and Nigeria as a whole.
Governor Ugwuanyi who played host to the investors led by Dr. Odilim Enwegbara of the Pan Africa Group and Stephen Paddy, chairman of the Simang Group, stated that “we have always been hopeful that coal will once again play a major role in the economic development of the country.
“Our opportunity to actualize the dream has come. This meeting offers Enugu State government the opportunity to establish a relationship with the Simang Group”, said the governor.
Stating that the move to revitalise the Enugu coal industry was in line with the current power sector reforms initiated by President Buhari, the governor explained that though Enugu is known as the Coal City State, “we believe it is the time now for Enugu to become a Coal City State again in truth.
“It would generate employment for our people. It will enhance the growing profile of Enugu state”, Governor Ugwuanyi.
The Governor said he was hopeful that the new move would help “generate alternative and more vital sources of power generation in the country”.
Speaking on the occasion, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, who corroborated the governor, explained that he was there “to deliver the message that President Muhammad Buhari gave on January 10, 2016 that we are going to revive coal in Enugu.
“It commences today because he delegated his minister, Dr. Fayemi to examine all the contracting firms showing interest in the offer but from all surveys, the federal government of Nigeria says that Simang Group should be given the chance.
“It should be noted that we are very committed to developing Enugu state and we encourage Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration to partner with Simang and we know you have the capacity to cooperate with them in this instance”, Okechukwu said.
On their own part, the investors pointed out that their intervention would certainly change the narrative of electric power generation in Nigeria, especially in the South Eastern part of the country.
The chairman of the Simang Group, Mr. Paddy, said that “from the South African perspective, I am interested in making sure that I facilitate trade and investment , when there is need for Nigerians to use their natural resources to curtail the challenges that the country is facing to make sure that the economic development within the country is achieved.
“We are here to give them all the support that is required with the normal support we have from the federal government of Nigeria.
“South African Simang is here to make sure that we give Nigerians all the support that is required from us, and we have received all the support from the federal government here, as we have been meeting with the minister for Solid Minerals”, he explained.
Also speaking, Enwegbara stated that as investors, they clearly understood the challenges and are determined to commence operation as soon as possible. “We can convey the little resource into the much needed electricity,” he said.