By Chinwe Onwosi
The Ebonyi State Government has signed a business agreement with Silverbird Group, Computer Village Association in Lagos and Everyday Group as the state Shopping Mall kick starts for business by November, 2020.
The agreement was aimed at offering the business conglomerates a place in the Ebonyi ultramodern Shopping Mall in the State, as the Silverbird Group would have the chance to set up its Cinema in the State, the first in the South East.
The event, held on Tuesday 22, September at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki, combined with a State Business Forum, had in attendance top businessmen and women, notable Igbo traditional rulers and Igbo leaders from across Nigeria.
Speaking during the event, Umahi explained that agreement for any business in the shopping mall though based on monthly rentage was for 99 years, reviewable every five years as he called on indigenous and other investors to take advantage of the friendly business environment created to do profitable businesses, adding that the Mall has the capacity to employ over 25,000 youths.
He disclosed that 24 Chinese companies have also indicated interest to invest in the state and have obtained shops at the shopping mall addimg that Ebonyi citizens would be given some concession in the usage of the Mall, while the first takers would enjoy two rent-free months, starting from November, 2020.
Umahi said, “In Ebonyi, we have a law and this law has tied our government up and down, that you will not be afraid of any investment.
He said, “No government policy can affect any investment in Ebonyi State.
Continuing, “The Mall, even though we are renting the mall per month, but the agreement we are signing for anybody taking the mall is for 99 years.
“Every five years, we look at the rate to review it.
“I will not be afraid to say that for Ebonyians who are born here, I will give them concession
The President of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who was a special guest at the event, beckoned on Igbos across the world to come home and invest as charity begins at home.
Nwodo emphasised the need for the people of the zone to go into agriculture and Digital Technology, which he described as a viable universal replacement for the near moribund oil economy.
Nwodo said: “Our people should come back home and invest.
“We should go into agriculture and digital technology where the world is going to.
“We must turn our Igboland into Catalonia of Spain, into what Bayern is to Germany.
“If you go to Spain, you can’t go into business without Catalonia.
“If you go to Germany, you can’t do any business without Bayern.
“Onitsha and Aba markets in Anambra and Abia are almost coming to that.
“In Ebonyi, the Governor is almost turning the state into Bayern of Igboland because of the phenomenal growth the state has recorded under the present administration in the state.”
The representatives of the business conglomerates applauded the architectural aesthetics, quality construction and space of the Mall, commending Umahi’s infrastructural revolution in Ebonyi State, which they described as the best in the Country.
The event was attended by the President of Silverbird group, Guy Murray Bruce; President, Computer Village Merchants Association of Nigeria, Prince Tony; Charles Dinnwaobi, who is the Chairman/CEO of Everyday Group; President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo; the President of Ndigbo in Lagos and Aka Ikenga, and others.