How to tackle infrastructural gap in South East, by Nnaji
The near absence of federal government presence in industrial and infrastructural developments in the southeast has created a huge gap in the economic and security stability of the zone and its people, former Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji has said.
To overcome the infrastructural challenge however, he suggested a synergy among the five states of the zone to harness the individual potentials of each state as was the case in the 60’s when eastern zone was reckoned an economic giant.
Nnaji spoke yesterday in Awka, Anambra state capital on the topic, “Regional Economic Development: Implications for growth and sustainable development of southeast Nigeria”, organized by African Heritage Institution in partnership with the DFID’s Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL).
Speaking on the need for regional integration of the zone, Nnaji stated that since the growth of the region was halted by Civil war, efforts at revamping it had failed because of “lack of integral block and organized leadership”, stressing that southeast has not found the will to jointly address critical projects which a single state will not have resources to undertake.
Nnaji said that the registration of the South East Region Economic Development Corporation (SEREDEC) was aimed at driving sustainable economic growth, stressing that it would produce a generic model of regional development agenda for the region devoid of politics and ethnic colouration.
He further stated that the industrial development of the southeast would be incomplete without the establishment of an industrial park and Industrial free zone in Aba, Abia state to propel the manufacturing industry. Stressing that the activities of the free zone will create vibrant synergetic economic partnership among the regions in Nigeria, he said that already the Afrexim Bank, Cairo was discussing with Abia state government on the establishment of a 7500 hectares industrial park to promote export.
Identifying stable power supply as key to industrialization and economic development of the zone, he said that the southeast was badly hit by inadequate power given her interest in small and medium scale industries.
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