Anambra to benefit $10 billion direct investment from Russia ― Dr. Obiora Okonkwo

The gubernatorial candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), ahead of the Anambra State Governorship Election, Chief Obiora Okonkwo has said that the state will benefit from an investment worth about $10 billion from Russia if elected as governor.

Dr. Okonkwo who disclosed this at the formal launching of the Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NRCCI) in Abuja, said Russia is aware of his vision and mission for Anambra State.

Dr. Okonkwo, who is also the President of NRCCI, said Russia is ready to open infrastructure for new towns in Anambra State and rebuild its urban renewal.

“If I am elected the governor of Anambra State, obviously, the state will benefit a whole lot from Russia in the area of technology, direct foreign investment, infrastructural development, manpower development and many more.

Russia is prepared they are aware of this my mission and vision to Anambra state, and I can tell you that from preliminary discussions that can easily attract nothing less than $10 billion within a short period of time, they just need to be engaged, they need to be signed on and with me in Anambra State as Governor, I will have the pen to engage, and obviously that will be just the game-changer.

“I think that what we experienced today could just be also the beginning of a new Anambra that we dream about if I am elected the governor only, that is the exclusive package coming from me,” Okonkwo said.

He further stated that Russia has in the state, and if he is elected, he will open talks with the federal government with a proposal to embark on the project.

“They (Russia) have indicated their interest to do surface rail track, we know that railway is a prerogative of the federal government, but the federal government is open and willing to welcome any form of a proposal for development, we will talk and have an understanding with them.

“Russia is ready to open infrastructure for a new town in Anambra state, it is very good for us, they are ready to rebuild our urban renewal, we are already talking with them,” he added.

There is a new chapter in the Nigeria-Russia relationship, especially from the economic angle. The countries have enjoyed decades of diplomatic relationship, but economically, it has really not been so much to be proud about.

It is a very good foundation that will bring about very real benefits to Nigeria in the area of technology transfer, industrialization, today the whole world is about creativity, the digital industry, it is coming from Russia, they will give us all those things.

Speaking generally on the impact of NRCCI, Chief Okonkwo said Russia will strengthen Nigeria’s ability to compete internationally in the area of production.

He said Nigeria will also produce products that will be of international standard and then they will export not only to Russia but to the world over.

“I foresee a situation where a whole lot of Russian manufacturers will relocate to Nigeria to be able to set up to service the African market. So all these things obviously depend on the ability of the government to create an enabling environment for them to prosper.

“The interest is there, the commitment is there, the funding is there, they have set up a huge trust fund to be able to support their business in Nigeria, Russian Export Bank is willing to support businesses and establishment that are coming to Nigeria in multiple billion United States dollars

“The Russian government has acquired one of the biggest shares in AfriExim bank as we speak today, that is to open a window to Africa, and if we do our homework well and do what we are supposed to do I have no doubt that Nigeria will be the biggest beneficiary with me at the helm of the affairs of this chambers of commerce and Industry.”

In his remarks, the former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said with Nigeria being the gateway to Africa, it stands optimistic about forging these new strategic partnerships in its quest to boost trade and tackle some of the challenges of development that are confronting it.

“However, as the forces of globalization pave way for global powers to align with emerging and developing economies, we cannot discount the impact of aligning our economies based on our individual and mutual interests.

“This is why collaborative initiatives like this Chamber of Commerce, which has been established to deepen the bilateral relations and increase the trade volume between our countries — are not only crucial, especially with the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), they are imperative.

“With the establishment of this Chamber, which is long overdue, part of my expectations is that it will help to improve the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Nigeria from Russia and help to enhance and create more business partnership which Nigerian companies or the private sector, in general, can benefit from,” Saraki added.

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