Renowned economist and banker, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has called for the integration of states in Nigeria’s south east zone for the creation of a regional market.
He was speaking at the Enugu Investment Summit, convened by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, with business leaders and investors from across the globe in attendance.
Elumelu noted the critical role power plays in businesses and economic growth, recommending that the rich deposit of coal in Enugu could be taken advantage of to generate electricity for region.
He challenged successful businessmen to create new entrepreneurs by setting up foundations that would mentor the youth to start up their own businesses and giving them the initial capital.
The banker said:“I want to challenge all of us to help our young ones; to help create economic hope and opportunities for them; to help give them little support that would make them not perpetually dependent on us but to enable them to feed themselves and become employers of labour and to commence the journey of entrepreneurship.”
He advised the governors of the states in south east Nigeria to initiate a new paradigm shift by creating incentives that would attract investors and get rid of multiple taxation.
Mr. Elumelu advised governments to prioritize their needs and promised that his companies would invest more in Enugu state.
In his address, Governor Ugwuanyi reeled out plans by the Enugu State government to diversify the economy of the state through a planned robust relationship being incubated for investors, stating that government has created suitable environment for business to thrive.
“We are talking of opportunities in agriculture, solid minerals, power generation and distribution, oil and gas, transportation, real estated development, ICT, health-care services, education, entertainment, tourism and many more,” Ugwuanyi said.
He pointed out that the establishment of the Free Trade Zone at the 9th Mile Corner, the existence of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the extensive urban and rural development initiatives of the state government have opened “new vistas for investment opportunities in virtually all sectors of the economy.”
Delivering his goodwill message, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, represented by an official of the ministry, Mr. Ayo Dele, called for collaboration between local and foreign investors for a reliable and viable investment.
He urged investors to come to the state following a conducive friendly business environment created by Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration.
Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra State represented by his deputy, Nkem Okeke, said that leadership is about meeting the needs of the people and thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for his initiative.
The summit attracted personalities within and outside the country including the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwueremadu, Senators Chukwuka Utzi, Senator Gil Nnaji, Senator Jim Nwobodo and other federal and state House members who turned in their numbers.
The Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Sean Hoy, said the summit was very important, stating that efforts must be geared towards moving into investment and partnership between businessmen from Nigeria and their Irish counterparts.
Tagged Oganiru, the Igbo word for progress, the summit is aimed at showcasing ten areas where businessmen can invest in the state.