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The clear negligence and official silence in the industrial development of South East and Nnewi in particular by the Federal Government remains one of the deepest undoing of the region generally known for industry.
This was the summary of former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, weekend during the Nnewi 2020 Investment Summit.
While giving reasons why Nnewi should receive similar if not more than what the emerging Lekki Free Trade Zone had received from the Federal Government, he argued that with the ingenuity of business owners in the zone and their concentration at Nnewi hub, would have been a full manufacturing hub in Nigeria to serve as a panacea for the chase for foreign investment.
Moghalu, who contended that Nnewi would hardly become a successful manufacturing hub based on the efforts of the private sector alone, said time has come for the Federal Government to rise above politics and provide necessary amenities to places they are mostly needed than areas they cannot be well utilized.
He decried that the federal and state governments in Nigeria had always been on the move, looking for foreign investments, when it could support a huge manufacturing hub like Nnewi to reach its limit and in turn help in growing the nation’s economy.
According to him, “Nnewi is the only industrial town in the whole world that is growing without the support of government.
“A huge manufacturing hub that was started from the scratch by indigenes of the town and has continued to grow without the support of the government.
“It will not be out of place to say that the federal government has abandoned Nnewi. Do you know what people in Nnewi will do if what government did at the Lekki Free Trade Zone is done here?
“Let me tell you, manufacturing sector is the easiest way to grow the economy of a country. It doesn’t matter the number of mineral resources you have. How many mineral resources does China have? You can only survive by manufacturing and exporting your products, and that is why China is surviving today.
Moghalu averred that “That is why I always say that the chase for foreign Investment is a wild goose chase. If you create the right environment, investments will come. Money knows where to go and multiply, you do not need to go asking it to come. Instead of pumping in Naira to rival the dollar, why not create a manufacturing hub and once products are exported and foreign exchange is earned, you will see the economy grow on its own,” Muoghalu said.
For a way out, the lead speaker tasked the Nnewi business community to show maximum interest in politics. He contended that politics influences public policy, and that when the right kind of people are in political offices with ideas that can drive business and manufacturing, then, businesses would not face as many problems as they were facing presently in Nigeria.
Earlier, the member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Constituency at the national assembly, Hon. Chris Emeka Azubogu, said “Government has to work hard to ensure that the policy on energising the economy works in Nnewi. Again, Nnewi business community has to generate power locally; I mean independent power source. When we get reliable, affordable and sustainable energy and support it with what we are getting from the national grid, it will stimulate both economic and industrial growth.”
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