OWERRI – The Owerri Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of industries in Imo with a team of Chinese businessmen.
The President of the chamber, Mr Kevin Mbawuike, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Thursday.
Under the agreement, investors from China and their local partners would establish industries in the areas of agriculture, energy, food processing, manufacturing, transport and housing.
Mbawuike said the initiative facilitated by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Viola Onwuliri, was to create employment opportunities for Nigerian youths.
“Owerri is a thriving academic and food sector environment and remains a golden mine for genuine investors who intends to have return of his investment because of the population.
“Unfortunately the private sector in the area is not recording enough government support in term of payment of counterpart funding and this is adversely affecting business,’’ he said.
Mbawuike noted that lack of government support had been a reoccurring problem in Imo, noting that the problem did not start with the present administration.
He blamed the low industrial presence in the state on the difficulty faced by businessmen in assessing funds either from the Bank of Industries, SEMDAN or the CBN.
He added that the chamber was making effort to improve the situation.
“This week, we are paying a contest visit to the Commissioner for Commerce and Non-Formal Sector, and we are hoping that government will start listening to the business community in Imo,’’ he said.
Mbawuike also stressed the need for Imo people to invest in small and medium industries, noting that it would help to engage a lot of young men and women who graduate from schools.
“We encourage our people to put in their resources in industrial activities no matter how little rather than expand monies on luxury live styles,’’ he said.
He said the chamber and the South-East Business Platform (local investors), corporative groups and communities were discussing on areas of advantage for businesses investment.
He further said that officials of the chamber and the Ministry of Economic Planning would soon visit Turkey on trade mission, adding that the efforts were aimed at tackling high youth unemployment.(NAN