South African investors, Simang Group, working along with the Enugu
State government and the Federal Government of Nigeria, have begun
moves to revive the coal industry in Enugu.
The investors who visited Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi at the Government
House, Enugu, yesterday hinted that the principal objective of the
investment drive was to use coal to generate electricity and then spin
a chain of allied business activities for the benefit of the people of
the South East and Nigeria as a whole.
An elated Governor Ugwuanyi who played host to the investors led by
Dr. Odilim Enwegbara of the Pan Africa Group and Stephen Paddy,
chairman of the Simang Group, stated that “we have always been hopeful
that coal will once again play a major role in the economic
development of the country.
“Our opportunity to actualize the dream has come. This meeting offers
Enugu State government the opportunity to establish a relationship
with the Simang Group”, said the governor.
Stating that the move to revitalize the Enugu coal industry was in
line with the current power sector reforms initiated by President
Buhari, the governor further explained that though Enugu is known as
the “coal city state”, “we believe it is the time now for Enugu to
become a coal city state again in truth.
“It would generate employment for our people. It will enhance the
growing profile of Enugu state”, Governor Ugwuanyi also said, hoping
that the new move would help “generate alternative and more vital
sources of power generation in the country”.
Speaking on the occasion, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria
(VON), Chief Osita Okechukwu, who actually corroborated the governor,
explained that he was there “to deliver the message that President
Muhammad Buhari gave on January 10, 2016 that we are going to revive
coal in Enugu.
“It commences today because he delegated his minister, Dr. Fayemi to
examine all the contracting firms showing interest in the offer but
from all surveys, the federal government of Nigeria says that Simang
Group should be given the chance.
“It should be noted that we are very committed to developing Enugu
state and we encourage Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration to partner
with Simang and we know you have the capacity to cooperate with them
in this instance”, said Chief Okechukwu.
On their own part, the investors pointed out that their intervention
would certainly change the narrative of electric power generation in
Nigeria, especially in the South East part of the country.
The chairman of the Simang Group, Mr. Paddy, said while addressing the
governor that “from the South African perspective, I am interested to
make sure that I facilitate trade and investment , when there is need
for Nigerians to to use their natural resources to curtail the
challenges that the country is facing to make sure that the economic
development within the country is achieved.
“We are here to give them all the support that is required
with the normal support we have from the federal government of
“South African Simang is here to make sure that we give Nigerians all
the support that is required from us, and we have received all the
support from the federal government here, as we have been meeting with
the minister for solid minerals”, he explained.
Also speaking, Enwegbara stated that as investors, they clearly
understood the challenges and are determined to commence operation as
soon as possible. “We can convey the little resource into the much
needed electricity,” he said.