Governor Willie Obiano’s economic policies in Anambra State have continued to attract the investment community, which recently invested a whopping $382.3 million (N62 billion) in strategic sectors of the economy.
Out of this inflow, a total of $220 million agreement was signed at the weekend when two major investors opted to explore the potentials of agricultural and tourism sectors of the state. The two companies that signed the agreement to invest in the state are Joseph Agro Ltd., which pumped in the sum of $150 million into the Omor Rice Mill project in Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state and Cardinal Developers Trust Ltd., which is investing the sum of $70 million in a four-star hotel project in Onitsha.
Joseph Agro Ltd, a subsidiary of Bravura, one of Nigeria’s major energy firms and its technical partner, REI Agro Commodities, the world’s leading rice producer, has by this agreement taken over the Omor Rice Mill with its 10,000 hectares of virgin land and the 3,850 hectares of Lower Anambra Irrigation Project.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony in Awka at the weekend, Governor Obiano explained that Joseph Agro Ltd would produce 120,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice per year in its first phase, pointing out that in addition to the output of Coched Farms, the project would completely eliminate the state’s rice supply deficit by 99 per cent. Said he: “Joseph Agro Ltd will help expand our scope in the agricultural sector. When fully operational, it will put 10,000 people in direct employment and about 25,000 in indirect employment. At the same time, it will lead to the development of human and technical capacity to enhance local rice production as well as boost the growth in our internally generated revenue,”
Meanwhile, Cardinal Developers & Trust Ltd is also taking over the completion of Anambra’s four-star luxury hotel in Onitsha, which will be managed by Radisson Blu on completion. Cardinal Developers & Trust Ltd is expected to build a 2,000 capacity conference center in Onitsha in addition to the 161 units of luxury apartments, flats and terrace houses in Onitsha.
Giving insight into the nature and benefits of the agreement with Cardinal Developers & Trust Ltd, Obiano explained that, “the project is expected to form a part of the Onitsha entertainment hub, which has a world class shopping mall currently under construction and financed by Africa Capital Alliance. This project will generate 400 direct jobs and 2,000 indirect jobs.”
According to him, on completion, the hotel is expected to attract more businesses to the state and stimulate a new culture and lifestyle in Onitsha. In addition to catalysing the interest of investors in Onitsha, which is in line with the state government’s ongoing urban renewal efforts in major cities.
Also speaking at the MoU signing, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Joe Billy Ekwunife, explained that the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) through which the investments came into the state had received 112 presentations and proposals from prospective investors and service providers in the last four months.
He stated that, “these investors and proposals are put through a generic assessment and viability exercise, which evaluate the investor’s credibility and competence, financial capacity and time frame of investment, among other criteria. At the moment, seven proposed investments have been identified as suitable, credible and value creating for the indigenes of Anambra State. It is worthy of note that the generic assessment and risk analysis exercise has been carried out.”
ANSIPPA estimates that by the end of December this year, Anambra would be $1.5 billion richer in investments arising from five other MoUs that would be signed soon.
Anambra State is fast becoming an investors’ haven of sorts since the Obiano administration tightened the noose on crime and insecurity in the state.
Already, one of the investors, Coched Farms Project, a subsidiary of the Coscharis Group, has set up an office along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, and has since mobilised workers and to its farm settlement in Anaku.
On its part, the state government has moved in to build the capacity that would support the impending agricultural revolution, successfully midwifing the formation of 1,874 cooperative societies that will catalyse the revolution. Members of these cooperatives will be trained and prepared in modern technics of mechanised farming.
Source : SunOnline