Enugu: Mbah woos investors towards a $30 billion economy | The Guardian Nigeria News

* Plans for mandatory skills, professional training

*Foreign governments, investors pledge partnership with Enugu

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has rallied foreign governments and investors to exponentially grow the state’s economy from the current $4.4 billion to $30 billion in eight years.

Mbah also said his administration would make skills and vocational education compulsory for all indigenes and residents of Enugu State from the age of 12 to effectively address the challenge of unemployment and serve the planned economic growth.

He made this known during the official opening of Geoffrey Okoye University – European Business Park and Center for Practical Skills (CPS) in Ugwuom, Nike, Enugu.

Speaking at the event, which was attended by the Hungarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Thomas Schlesinger; Minister Counselor of Germany in Nigeria, Mr. Martin Huth; State director of the German Agency for International Cooperation, Mr. Markus Margner; Executive Secretary, National University Commission, prof. Abubakar Rasheed; The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Most Rev. Calliste Onaga, among others, Dr. Mbah said the initiative is in line with his plans to catalyze skills and vocational education and reduce the inflow of investment and make Enugu State a desirable destination for investment, because business, and for life

He said: “My joy in being here largely stems from the fact that what we are doing here today is everything that we proposed to the people in our manifesto. One way to reduce the inflow of investment into Enugu is to work with such centers because, in our development plan, it is well captured that we will have a lot of skill acquisition, technical and vocational education in many locations in the state.

“One of our strategic plans is to transition Enugu from a public sector to a private sector driven economic growth.

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“Our goal is that in the near future this CPS and indeed the European Business Park will represent one of the hubs for the emergence of small and medium-sized enterprises in our country.”

“That is why we have proposed a huge vision to the people of Enugu State that we will grow our economy from the current $4.4 billion to $30 billion. Such a proposal was labeled as crazy when such a proposal was put forward, and the reason is that in the last 21 years we have only slightly raised the economy, and here we are saying that we will have exponential growth from $4.4 billion to $30 billion in eight years.

“Again, we want to create an environment for the development of the private sector.” So, we simply said that our mission is to make Enugu State a desirable destination for investment, business and living. So, we clearly understand that as a government we will have to reduce the risk of private sector investment inflow into Enugu.

“We understand the need for business because we also come from that background and know that skills and workforce are one of the key indicators for ease of doing business in any community,” he said.

He added that the “Made-in-Enugu” products will serve both domestic and foreign markets and will address the problem of unemployment, poverty eradication and also create opportunities for investors to explore other areas such as the new energy and mineral resources sector . – the future administration is investigating.

On compulsory skills and vocational education, Mbah said: “Besides just saying we will have technical and vocational education for our youths, we will actually work with the House of Assembly to create a legislative framework that will be compulsory for every citizen of Enugu, for all living in Enugu, who are up to 12 years of age, to start having access to technical and vocational education. The goal is to make sure at some point that we don’t have an 18-year-old telling you he doesn’t have a job.

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“We believe that by establishing such a skills center, the unemployment rate will drop drastically.” We must ensure that this center is singled out for recognition as we hope to replicate this as a government at various locations in the state.

“What this Center has done is to bring our tomorrow closer to us today, which is in line with our slogan, tomorrow is here; and indeed our tomorrow is here because we no longer have room for procrastination. We can’t wait any longer. We have to hit the ground running.”

He also commended the management of the university led by the Vice-Chancellor Geoffrey Okoye for its “perseverance and excellence” in managing laudable projects, assuring that his administration would continue to partner with the institutions to produce responsible youths who create wealth and women who will be useful the world.

For his part, an international energy investor from Europe, Mr. Jens-Christian Moller, expressed confidence in Mbach’s ability to achieve an “ambitious $30 billion economy,” adding that his company would be ready to invest in the country once he is elected.

He said the European contingent is interested in training Enugu people in Europe and bring them back so that they can mirror the technical know-how and other skills in their home state.

Mr. Moller said what Mbah intended to achieve in the state was quite ambitious but doable, noting that it would take extra effort to achieve seven times the gross domestic product (GDP) in the state.

He said he was impressed listening to him lay out his plan, assuring that he would partner with the state under Mbah’s leadership once the right framework was in place.

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According to him, they were ready to create thousands of jobs by engaging Enugu youths for vocational training, to be world class engineers and help them work globally, especially in the field of power generation where they could live in Africa, pay taxes in Africa and earn money abroad.

In his intervention, the Consulate General of Denmark in Nigeria, Per Christensen, said they have their corporate investments and activities in Lagos State and one in Northern Nigeria, stressing that with the right policies, they were willing to have a consulate in Enugu State to serve Eastern Nigeria since they did not yet have corporate investments in the region.

The Consul General further said that he would be glad to return to Enugu State if Mbah is elected to further discuss how they could go in with their investments.

Speaking at the event, Director General of the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Dr. Michael Spindelegger, said that CPS and the Business Park opened at the university is a unique collaboration aimed at bringing together expertise in the field of migration, the local university and the private sector to open up prospects for locals, business locations and companies, to attract SMEs to Nigeria with its large and growing market of over 220 million people.

In the meantime, Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike, who is also a professor of ethics and intercultural studies at the Godfrey Okoye University, described Dr. Mbah as God-sent.

“Dr. Mbah is not a politician. He is a technocrat; and at certain moments we need a technocrat, who comes to save society”, he stated.

Speaking earlier, the university’s vice-chancellor said the program was possible because of their extraordinary innovation and dedication where they managed to transform the jungle into a Catholic university, and into a GO Uni-European Business Park and Practical Skills Centre.


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