The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Usra Harahap, has expressed the country’s interest in deepening relations with the Government of Enugu State in the areas of trade and investment.
Harahap said the relationship would be extended to other socio-economic spaces that would be of mutual benefits to both entities.
He stated this when he led a team of senior delegates from the Republic of Indonesia to the state on a business and working visit to Gov. Peter Mbah, at the Government House on Monday.
While exploring the areas of interest that could lead to a productive partnership between Enugu State and Indonesia, the ambassador noted that investments in the state and frequent exchange of contacts would cement the bilateral ties.
He said this would equally create more opportunities for mutual growth and prospects of further investments in the future.
“The potential for collaboration between Indonesia and Enugu State is immensely spanning across Enugu State in many sectors.
“Firstly, in the area of trade and investment, we see great opportunities for future growth and country can benefit from increased trade, the exchange of knowledge, and collaborative investment venture.
“We look at how our trade will further improve. In this regard, I will extend my invitation to Gov. Peter Mbah and the Enugu business community to participate in the Trade Expo, which will be held from Oct. 18 to 22 in the city of Indonesia.
He explained that the Expo will provide the unique platform for Government of Enugu State to meet Indonesian businessmen, and also be exposed to their services and business opportunities that can be mutually beneficial.
Harahap expressed Indonesia’s desire to invest in the energy and mining sectors in the state.
According to him, Enugu is rich in mineral and agricultural resources, as well as tourism, which would serve as additional sources of revenue.
He added that the “trade value between Indonesia and Nigeria is about US$4.5 billion of which the total import amounts to US$4.3 billion with export at only US$5 million”.
“Indonesia has many interests in broadening the collaboration in energy, agriculture, health sector, as well as creative economy.
“In line with this, the Government of Indonesia has sought investment opportunities in Africa. Currently, the Indonesia government has established 35 companies in Africa with values worth of US$5 billion.
“The areas of investment are mining industry, food and beverages, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, construction, textile and agriculture.
“We recognise the potential of the agro-sector in your region and we envisage collaboration between Enugu State and Indonesia businesses within areas such as food processing, agriculture, machineries and irrigation,” the ambassador said.
He, however, said that the Indonesian expertise can help significantly to increase agricultural productivity and ensure food security in Enugu state.
He also revealed that the Indonesian government is making plans to collaborate with the state in the area of education through scholarships to enable bright students from the state to do their doctoral, masters and undergraduate degree courses in the Asian country.
Responding, Gov. Mbah commended the ambassador and his team for picking special economic interest in the state.
Mbah said his administration was not only ready to partner with Indonesian investors, but had equally provided the enabling environment to welcome them to the state.
The governor maintained that the state had an array of investment opportunities such as the sector-based productivity belt, minerals and energy sector, including coal, oil and gas with large deposits in different locations in the state.
Mbah enjoined the ambassador to see Enugu as the best state to invest as his government had already activated the mechanisms that would derisk investment flow and enable ease of doing business.
“Enugu State is blessed with minerals such as limestone, gypsum, clay mineral, glass sand, and one of the cleanest coal deposit in the world,” he said.
He reiterated the government’s resolve to make the state an investment destination, grow the gross domestic product from its present US$4.4 billion to US$30 billion.
Also, this is to eradicate poverty and make it a tourism hub through deliberate policies already being executed, Mbah said.
Mbah said that over 300,000 hectares of land had been designated as a special economic zone for agro-allied processing industry and other investment prospects.