The Imo State Government is presently seeking the partnership of Chinese government in promoting and exploring investment potentials in the state.
The new Imo Liaison Officer Lagos, Hon. Anthony Abili made the intention known during his courtesy visit to the new Consular-General of The Peoples Republic of China, Mr Chu Maoming in Lagos recently. Abili explained that the visit was to familiarize himself with the Consulate and to deliver the goodwill message of the people of Imo State and the governor, Emeka Ihedioha to the Consular General. He informed that the proposed partnership with the Chinese Government are in the areas of tourism, agriculture, industrialization, social housing and integrated infrastructure in the state, expressing the desire of the Imo State government to set up five mini industries in each of the 27 local government areas.
Abili also informed the Chinese Consulate of the large Human Capital resources available in Imo State, and the government’s desire to build an ICT Innovation Hub in Owerri, to empower youths.
He said the governor was ensuring the enthronement of good governance and sound fiscal practice, with the introduction of the Treasury Single Account in the State.
Abili highlighted the tourism potential in the state, saying the high aviation traffic at the Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport, which he described as the third busiest airport in the country, has become a major gateway to other eastern cities.
“Our airport is a major cargo route for Chinese Investors. We also have various cultural and historical sites that abound in the state. Other areas of interest include the hotels that are available in Owerri, the state capital, the existence of the Oguta Lake Resort and its huge tourism potential. The government is also planning to resuscitate and revamp the Ada Palm plantations in Ohaji and Umuogu, which have 4,319 hectares of palm plantation that can be used to grow the agro economy of the state,” he said.
Abili also said Imo State also has the large presence of cassava farmlands and rice belts in Ideato North, Oguta, Ihitte Uboma and other local government areas in the state. He expressed willingness of the state government to listen to prospective genuine investors, with verifiable capacity and introduce government’s policies that would promote rapid investment, including tax incentives where necessary.
“Governor Ihedioha remains passionate about social housing, and various companies and government agencies in the People’s Republic of China have the technology and experience to collaborate with the state government. We therefore look forward to opportunities for the Imo State government’s trade visit – involving a delegation of the state government officials to the Peoples’ Republic of China to explore industrialization potentials and sign MOUs.”
The Consular-General, in his response, said the visit has provided an opportunity to learn about the various collaborative opportunities available to Chinese business interests and even the Chinese government, who have made a conscious decision to explore partnership opportunities with state governments in Nigeria.
He expressed delight that the Imo State has a lot of tourist and industrialization potential and suggested that an investment teaser of brochure be produced, which will offer such information to various Chinese business entities, whilst promising to assist the Imo State government in ensuring that such investment booklet would be circulated to the Chinese investment community.
The Consular- General, who was represented by the Director of Consular Section, Mr. Sun Jinlun promised to co-operate with Imo State Government, noting that there are obvious advantages for attracting Chinese Technology and industries in Imo State.
“We will continue to liaise fully with the liaison officer in order to explore opportunities for future collaboration. Our investors are primarily concerned about the current security situation in Nigeria, but will be hoping to enjoy favourable business potentials and policies in Imo State.”
He informed the Imo Liaison Officer of the upcoming Chinese National Day Celebration slated for September. “The Imo State government should take advantage of the forthcoming celebration to promote her investment potentials,” he stated.
While thanking Abili and his entourage for the visit, he said the Consular-General would be willing to visit Imo State in the very near future to further explore potential collaborations, upon the extension of a formal invitation by Governor Ihedioha.