Profiles in Democracy Dividends 1999-2003: A Changing Business Climate, a New Investment Hub
If Governor Chimaroke Nnamani's administration excels in providing social amenities in Enugu State, thus ameliorating the suffering of the people, he has also striven to create an enabling environment for businesses to sprout and grow.

Once upon a time, the Coal City State was nothing more than a dreary Civil Service State. All that belongs to history now. In the past three and half years Enugu has forcefully emerged as an industrial investment hub. Governor Chimaroke Nnamani's laudable economic programmes and vision of a new society have before our very eyes transformed the business landscape of the state, creating an all-time favourable climate for a private-sector-led industrial transformation.

Defying the stereotypes painted by pessimists and mischief makers, Enugu is today a preferred investment destination for all categories of businesses and industries. Memories are made of the assiduous hardwork and consummate diplomacy that translated into attracting this array of new investments.

The Profile is growing by the day:

1. One of such ventures that has come up and is blossoming is the Scentomix Fertilizer Blending Plant. Scentomix had an installed capacity of four metric tonnes per day. Due to high demand for its products, however, the company expanded and upgraded the status of its plant to an improved installed capacity of fifteen (15) metric tonnes per hour.

The upgrading and expansion work is designed, fabricated and installed by Messrs. BEMBA Engineering Services in joint partnership with the Raw Materials and Development Council. The SCENTOMIX Fertilizer Plant is owned jointly by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council and Scentom Industries Nigeria Limited at a ratio of 49:51 per cent share capacity respectively. Raw materials for SCENTOMIX assorted brands are sourced from the National Fertilizer Company (NAFCON), Port Harcourt.

2. EURO 650 million (N80 billion) -Ama Greenfield Project - a block buster Joint Venture between Heineken B. V. of Holland and the Nigerian Breweries Plc, located at Ninth Mile Corner, Ngwo. The project when completed in March 2003 will be the biggest brewery plant in sub-Saharan Africa. It is as well the single largest foreign direct investment in the country (outside the petroleum sector) since the advent of the nascent democratic dispensation, with a capacity to provide more than one thousand jobs in direct employment and another ten thousand jobs in indirect employment.

The colossal investment in Enugu State by this world acclaimed brewery giant speaks volume of the peace and tranquillity that pervade the entire state in terms of both social and economic life. Little wonder Heneikens' choice of the Enugu to site its biggest plant in the whole of Africa. The project, which is about 85% complete, has provided the people of the State employment opportunities as well as a rare opportunity for the business community in the State to establish ancillary businesses and supply outfits to the Giant Plant.

3. Multi-Million Naira -Ultra Modern Pepsi/Seven-Up Plant also located at Ninth Mile Corner, Ngwo. The project estimated to be worth N300 million is billed for commissioning early next year. It adds to a growing list of high net worth investments that are gradually changing the face of Enugu for the better.

4. Multi-billion Naira Guinness Plc project at Nsude - expected to be formally flagged off any moment from now.

5. Between June 1999 and October 2002, more than twenty banking institutions have opened new branches in Enugu Capital city, with several others on the queue. The arrival of the new banks in addition to the existing ones are a pointer to the growing economic importance of the Coal City.

6. To complement the burgeoning business environment, the State Government embarked on an aggressive programme of market development and expansion as manifested in the addition of thousands of new stalls to the Ogbete Main Market and Kenyatta Market. This is in addition to the ongoing expansion Enugu International Market at Nsude.

7. The comprehensive resuscitation and transformation of the hitherto disused Hotel Presidential coupled with the branding of Nike Lake Hotel Resort to become prime players in the hospitality industry in the country are but another instance of the changing business climate in the Coal City.

The faith and confidence reposed in Enugu by investors is no doubt a testimonial that the state is secure and safe for genuine businesses. Surely, the highly discerning business community cannot be wrong.

CONSTRUCTIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

It could be rightly said that the primary philosophy of Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani's administration is security of the people and sustenance of democracy. The massive attendance of people from the grassroots during Governor Nnamani's recent and on-going tours of the Local Government Areas is an eloquent demonstration of the love and appreciation of the people of Enugu state for the myriads of projects and other democracy dividends delivered to them by the energetic and dynamic Governor. To ensure that what is due to the state gets to the good people of this state Governor Nnamani maintains and sustains a very warm and harmonious relationship with the federal government. It is this spirit of co-operation, which spurred Dr. Nnamani to rehabilitate federal projects and construct new ones even without the prompting of the federal government.

One significant outcome of this strategic partnership with the Federal Government is the ongoing resuscitation of the long-abandoned Oji River Hydropower Station. The Deputy Governor of Enugu State Ezenwata Okechukwu Itanyi who conducted the media team round this project revealed that the Oji River power station, expressed joy that the station which had been lying dormant since the end of the civil war in January 1970, would soon be revived. The Federal Government is showing serious interest in the project and has pledged to rehabilitate it to boost the capacity of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA).

There is also the N600 million Enugu International Trade Fair Complex (permanent site) which will be completed by the end of this year.

But the real icing on the cake is the N1.2 billion Federal Government funded Greater Enugu Water Scheme which is due for commissioning later this year. The completion of the project, previously abandoned by the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), will do doubt see the entire Enugu metropolis bid goodbye to all forms of epileptic power supply.

 


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