The UK and Enugu State governments have resolved to partner for mutual economic benefits.
The resolution was made when the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, visited Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State at the Government House Enugu on Tuesday.
Mr Montgomery, during the visit, expressed his support for the investment and economic growth drive of the new administration in the state.
He recalled that the UK had partnered the Enugu government for over 20 years on issues like public health sector reforms, education and power sector reforms, among others.
“So, we are interested in continuing that partnership. I have been reading the press and the ways you have been seeking to already put your stamp on reforms and your ambitions for the state.
“I am here to listen, learn, and understand more about your priority and that of your new government to explore areas of further collaboration,” he said.
“We really hope that the South-east and Enugu State will see more opportunities coming from the economy in the coming years.
“There might be some short-term pressures and volatility to manage, but we can see the prospects for a higher growth path for Nigeria.
“The UK is very interested in exploring partnerships on trade and investment and I have come to Enugu to understand your agenda and to explore those areas of potential partnership going forward,” Mr Montgomery added.
Responding, Mr Mbah, told the British High Commissioner that the state was eager to take back its preeminent place in economic development in Nigeria.
“We have also shared an ambitious vision to the people of Enugu State on where we could get to in terms of our economy. One of the things we said to them is our ambition to transform Enugu to become a premier destination for investment, business, living and tourism. And we also have plans to eradicate poverty in the state, which is currently higher than the national average,” the governor said.
“This is why your visit to us today is quite remarkable because we believe it is not a journey we can go alone. We need partnerships. We need collaborations in order to achieve that. Interestingly, we have a history of partnership with the UK, just as you have alluded to,” he stated.
Mr Mbah equally sought for the technical assistance of the UK Government as well as the restoration of the UK Visa Facilitation Centre to Enugu to boost trade, business, and other relationships between the UK and the state.
“I have told you some of the historic roles Enugu had played in the history of the south and there could be no better place to site a visa facilitation centre than Enugu. So, we are looking forward to that to boost trade, investment, and cooperation between the UK and our state,” he said.
The governor equally sought the technical assistance of the UK Government in the areas of power to develop and build the Enugu electricity market and the consequent regulatory commission, given that state governments have been permitted to generate its own electric power.
“We are also interested in the private-sector-led green economic transformation where we obviously believe that we can participate in renewable energy so that most of our catchment power requirements can actually be attended to. So, the emphasis is on technical assistance and support,” Mr Mbah said.
He also requested for the support of the UK Government in developing Enugu State as a “special agro-allied” processing zone in line with his administration’s manifesto and the recent listing of the state for that purpose by the Nigerian government.
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