Enugu Govt. partners Chinese investors to internationalize Enugu Airport
January 13, 2006
Governor Chimaroke Nnamani has said that the new economic pact between Enugu State and the Haven Province in the Peoples Republic of China was planned to help launch the state into the international business arena.

Governor Nnamani stated this while speaking at a state banquet organized in honour of a sixteen-member Trade Mission from China to Enugu State.

The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Chief Okechukwu Itanyi, expressed the readiness of the State Government to partner with the Chinese business team to put Enugu on the front burner of commercial activities through the internationalization of the Enugu airport.

According to Governor Nnamani, "we have great potentials to partner with you to ensure mutual benefit. This is because you are coming here to invest and make profit which will, in turn, improve the welfare of our people”.

He noted that Enugu State is strategically located to serve the commercial centres of Onitsha, Aba and Port-Harcourt, as well as other states in the South East and South South geo-political zones of the country.

The Governor told the visitors that the state is blessed with abundant natural resources like lime stone and coal deposits, as well as the needed human resources to provide the labour for any industry or venture they might wish to embark on.

Said the Governor: "We have abundant deposit of lime stone and coal. Therefore, if you want to establish a cement factory in Enugu, it is possible. If you want to set up a coal-based electricity plant here, it is also possible."

The State Chief Executive told them that government had been working with various international organizations like the DFID, UNICEF and World Bank to improve the welfare of the people in the areas of improved healthcare, qualitative education and water supply, among others.

He expressed the hope that partnership with the trade mission would add value and strength to what was already on the ground in terms of development of the states.

Governor Nnamani explained that there was no way any economy could make progress with a strong partnership between the public and the private sector, stressing that government would continue to provide the necessary support and conducive environment to ensure the success of the new trade relationship.

According to the Governor, government was in a hurry to turn the economy around and change the face of Enugu State while seeking to get the State to where the People's Republic of China is today in terms of economic growth, agriculture and industrial establishment.

Governor Nnamani further stated that the State would explore the possibility of transfer of that country's technology in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, aviation, tourism and exploitation of mineral deposits to Nigeria.

He expressed the hope that the partnership would open up a new chapter in the relationship between China, Nigeria and Enugu State.

Governor Nnamani also used the occasion to brief the delegation on the aggressive transformation of the state by his administration in infrastructural development, facilities and poverty reduction since the inception of the government in 1999.

Earlier in his speech, the leader of the Trade Mission, Mr. Jonathan Pang, had said that they were in Enugu to explore ways they could contribute to the economic development of the State.

Mr. Pang, who is the President of an aviation industry, Link Global Logistics in China, pointed out that Nigeria is rich in mineral resources, tourist attractions and agricultural potentials, as well as human resources which, if well harnessed, would greatly improve the welfare of her citizenry.

He told the government and people of Enugu State that they had the capability for production and technology, adding that their country is so developed that the world is looking at the secret behind their success story.

The leader of the trade mission who came with a team of business executives in aviation, oil and gas, agriculture, telecommunications, textile, building materials, coal and cement, as well as financial experts, among others, said that they were ready to share their success story with Nigerians and people of Enugu State to build a strong economy.

According to Mr. Pang, "we hope that through our hard work, we can make Enugu State a star in Nigeria, and through this, we can link Enugu city and make it an international transit center for cargo and passenger aircraft in Africa."

He spoke on the benefits of the partnership agreement between his country and Enugu State, adding that their visit was a return leg of a similar visit by the Nigerian business delegation to China in August last year.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Trade delegation on a two-day trade mission to Enugu State has indicated interest to build an international airport in the State.

Addressing a press conference at the Akanu Ibiam Airport Enugu, at the end of their Trade visit, the leader of the delegation, Mr. Jonathan Pang, said that they would also improve on the facilities currently at the existing Enugu Airport.

Mr. Pang said that with this development, they hope to establish air link, both in cargo and passenger air lift between Enugu and Haven Provence in China.

This, he noted would help improve on the existing trade relations between the People's Republic of China, Enugu State and Nigeria in general and by extension, generate employment opportunities in the State.

Mr. Pang said that when the flight becomes operational, "people from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and people from all over China, will come to the point where they can fly to Enugu direct."

He described the trade mission to Enugu as very successful and fruitful, adding that the team would also like to see the possibility of exploring the rich natural resources in the state, as well as invest in agriculture.

According to him, " Enugu State is a potential investors’ haven because of its large available land and the forest areas. Enugu State is rich in land that will make it possible for the growing of agricultural products."

On other gains of the visit, Mr. Pang said that they hope to invest also in other industrial establishments, aviation, business, pharmacy, adding that, "we are looking at pharmacy to bring Chinese ready-made medicines into Nigeria."

According to him, the main concept was to extend the Chinese technology into Nigeria for the mutual benefit of both countries.

He thanked government and people of Enugu State for their hospitality and said that they would bring Chinese investment into the state with the aim of giving Enugu State the credit for exchange of products from the Chinese technology.

In his speech, the State Deputy Governor, Chief Okechukwu Itanyi, thanked members of the Trade Mission for their visit and said that Enugu State would provide a very conducive atmosphere for the take-off of the projects.

The Deputy Governor said the state looks forward to their coming back very soon "to begin to invest in the state for the benefit of the State and China.


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