By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU- South East Regional Economic Development Company, SEREDEC, has expressed more zeal, capacity and burning desire to actualize its core mandate of enthroning infrastructural development, economic and human capital development within the south east region.
At its fourth South East Economic Summit that ended in Enugu, last Friday, SEREDEC headed by former Minister for Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, resolved that it will within one year, conclude feasibility study on gas pipeline and hospital projects it has embarked on. It is also to set up mechanism for actualizing other identified projects such as rail network for the zone; Enyimba Industrial City project; 430 kilometer ring road within the zone; improved ease of doing business, among others.
The company urged South East governments to continue to work more actively on regional economic development and pledged to engage in more partnerships with Afriexim bank, UK Trade Agency to secure financing for identified developmental projects.
One of the participants of the summit, a representative of the UK Department for International Trade, Mr. Lami Adekola announced that over I.2 billion pounds was lying fallow waiting to be deployed for critical infrastructural projects in Nigeria.
SEREDEC therefore further resolved to partner with investors to set up innovation center for providing technical innovation for southeast entrepreneurs.
“While the focus on core infrastructure is good, SEREDEC needs to also prioritize human capital development including functionality of the education system; working with South East Governors should also emphasize on necessary drivers to aid soft infrastructure that would drive physical infrastructure,” it stated in its communiqué at the end of the two days summit.
Agreeing there was need to prioritize human capital and skills development, the company commended South East governors for showing exemplary commitment and improving security situation in the region.
It disclosed that efforts are being made to get some South East volunteers and philanthropists to invest in a model school for STEM education; rehabilitation and establishment of good and quality Technical Schools in the zone for vocational training.
The summit organized by SEREDEC and partners such as the South East Governors Forum, SEGF and PERL ARC attracted high level personalities from the private sector and the Governors of Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia States represented by their Deputy Governors with over 500 participants came from all over the world.
President of Afrieximbank, Prof Benedict Oramah, represented by the bank’s Chief Economist, delivered the key note speech. Other participants included: Former MTN Chairman, Dr. Pascal Dozie; Dr Alex Chika Okafor (Chicason); Russian business partners; Maj. General Obi Umahi (rtd); Prof Chidi Onyia (MD, UK NAIF); Bishop Sunday Onuoha, Dr Innocent Okpanum, Amb. Nkem Wadibia-Anyanwu, Mrs. Agatha Nnaji, Prof. Onyi Nwagabra, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuoke, Dr. Chichi Aniaggolu, Mr. Darl Uzu, Mr. Ike Chioke, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Mrs. Uche Onwuamaegbu, Engr. Mike Ogbuwkwe, Dr Mark Abani, Ify Melody, Ucheoma Egwuatu, among many others.
There were presentations and vigorous discussions in the on-going SEREDEC projects in rail network, gas pipeline network, Resort Hospital project, and Enyimba Economic City. There were industrialists, ICT entrepreneurs, agribusiness industrialists, DFID representatives and a delegation of Russian businessmen.
There were excellent presentations on the Ease of Doing Business, particularly World Bank Ease of Doing Business (Sub-national) ranking in Nigeria and the South East, new Ideas and Innovative Businesses, Human Capital Development and Youth empowerment.