Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, has unveiled economic plans aimed at propelling the state into an export-oriented economic powerhouse.
According to The Cable, he is doing that with the signing of the agreement for the provision of the $200 million capital raise financial advisory services by Afreximbank. Working with Afreximbank, Anambra State plans to prioritize and formulate robust work programmes for strategic projects – which are capable of unleashing the economic potentials of the state.
Making Anambra an export-driven economy would help in bringing in the foreign exchange inflows Nigeria needs at this moment especially now that the dollar inflows from oil and gas are not enough to meet Nigeria’s expenditure. Governor Soludo – a professor of economics – knows the impact of foreign exchange inflow on the stability of a country’s currency and wealth creation.
Currently, feasibility studies and designs are already completed for the establishment of new industrial clusters, Free Trade Zones and an Export Emporium, while Construction works have started for the pharmaceutical processing zones. The people of Anambra are known for hard work and industry. Anambra is home for major Nigerian brands such as Innoson, Cutix, Tummy-Tummy Noodles, Cosrice, Tiger Spices, Jezco Oil, Hero Beer, AZ Oil and Omega Aromatic Schnapp. These export facilities are the fundamental structures the people of Anambra State need to unleash their full potentials.
A few weeks ago, Governor Soludo hosted a business meeting with manufacturers, importers and exporters in Anambra in order to discuss ways to promote the made in Anambra project and how Anambra-based businesses can take advantage of the African continental market. The administration is continuously setting up structures to make Anambra State business friendly and to attract the world to Anambra. A lot of issues raised by manufacturers in Anambra are being addressed.
Today, the security situation in the state has significantly improved and there are massive road construction works around the state in order to reduce bottlenecks businesses face. Also, there are business friendly reforms which have helped in expediating approvals by Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) and the process of obtaining land certificates of occupancy.
The Anambra Export Policy of the Soludo administration is aimed at building an industrial base that would generate the capital Anambra needs to become a first-choice destination for people who want to study, relax and do business. Certainly, the Soludo administration is setting the framework required to build a mega city or a mega state, as it were. The administration needs the support of the good people of the state in order to continue firing from all cylinders.
The empowerment of export-oriented businesses is intended to go side by side with the youth empowerment program of the Soludo Administration (the One Youth Two Skills Programme). A few days ago, 5000 youths were empowered with seed capitals which amounted to 2 billion naira. The government plans to support some of these youths, who benefitted from the 2-billion-naira grant, and who would want to scale up their businesses with further resources from the Anambra State Small Business Agency. This is aside the thousands of jobs the administration has created in the state’s civil service.
Air cargo remains one low hanging fruit for Anambra to reach the world with its goods. To this end, the Soludo administration has developed a master plan to engage cargo operators locally and internationally in the Anambra International Cargo Airport (now Chinua Achebe International Airport). Currently, 12 companies have submitted applications for the construction of cargo warehouses, Fixed Base Operation (FBO), Maintenance and Repairs Operation (MRO), aircraft fuel dump and other facilities. It is expected that Anambra Cargo Airport will work with the concessioned Onitsha Seaport to take Anambra’s export to the world.
Currently, Governor Soludo is living up to the promise he made to businesses in Anambra. He promised to be the chief marketing officer for any business that decides to set-up its operations in Anambra.