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Peter Mbah: We’ll increase agricultural production to boost Enugu’s GDP

Peter Mbah, governor of Enugu, says his administration would increase agricultural production to boost the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Mbah spoke on Monday in Enugu at a media chat to mark his one year in office.

On March 16, the governor had said his administration’s main goal is to increase the state’s GDP to $30 billion within the next eight years.

Speaking to journalists, Mbah said Enugu’s economic growth would be driven by the agricultural sector.

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He said his administration would increase production by boosting the capacity of local farmers and creating a favourable environment for investments.

“Now, our hope, if you talk about food security, we see agriculture beyond food,” he said.

“We see a lot of growth coming from that sector, which is why the first thing we did when we came in was to change the ministry from just being agriculture to agriculture and agro-industrialisation because we are also interested in value add.

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“We are going to scale up production. We are already doing that by enhancing the capacity of our local farmers but also, making the environment convenient for private sector, for the large commercial farmers to come in and invest.

“So that is essentially where this growth we are talking about would come from.”

Mbah also said much of the anticipated growth would come from private-sector investment, adding that his administration aims to restore the state’s leading position in facilitating business operations.

“What is happening is the growth. Talking about a growth of 4.4 billion to 30 billion is a seven-fold growth in a horizon of seven years,” he said.

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“If you do the calculus, that is about 27 percent compounded annual growth rate. That is massive and the weight is not lost on us.

“We were indeed mindful and we had also done our numbers so we didn’t just pluck the 30 billion from the blue. We understood clearly what it would require to get.

“In fact, if you look at some of the things we are doing across all the other sectors, it’s largely connecting the dots to be able to take us to that growth level.

“Enugu has a great brand equity. It is not just a city of yesterday. We are talking about a city of over 100 years old that has played a lot of roles in the economy of this country and become the administrative headquarters of a lot of governments.

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“And largely, what we believe is that with the steps we are taking, we want to bring her back to that preeminent role.

“So deal with insecurity, attract businesses to come, but those growth, even though they may be driven by private sector, it has to be enabled by government.”

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Mbah said the government’s plan to achieve ease of doing business involves building infrastructure, ensuring a secure environment, upholding the rule of law, enforcing contracts, facilitating the procurement of permits, and supporting the establishment of businesses.

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