BREAKING: Enugu State Govt, Pragmatic Palms Ltd, Seal N100bn Deal to Revive United Palm Products Ltd

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In continuation of the bid by Governor Peter Mbah Administration to revive and convert Enugu State’s dormant assets to productive assets, the government has signed a N100bn deal with Pragmatic Palms Limited, a subsidiary of Diamond Stripes Limited, to resuscitate the moribund Enugu State United Palm Products Limited, UPPL.

The partnership will see Pragmatic Palms transform UPPL, one of the agricultural and agro-industrialisation initiatives of the late premier of the defunct Eastern Region, Dr. M. I. Okpara, which had lain fallow for many years.

Speaking during the signing of agreement at Government House Enugu, Governor Peter Mbah said the move was in line with his administration’s determination to grow the state’s economy exponentially from $4.4 billion to $30 billion, assuring the investors that his government would play its own part.

“This is a moment we must all be very proud of because it represents a major leap in our quest towards the revival of our dormant assets in line with our vision and the promises we made to our people.

“This investment outlay of over N100bn is very significant because we also see agriculture beyond food security. We see agriculture as business.

“I want to assure you that the government you are dealing with is business-facing, and given my background as an entrepreneur, we understand what it means to have the ease of doing business. So, we are going to ensure that this is going to be an experience that you will use as a reference point. We will be very responsive, and we are going to make sure that this partnership works for the benefit of the company and also that of Enugu State. So, what we are doing here today will mark the beginning of great things ahead,” Mbah stated.

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Fielding questions from newsmen, the Enugu State Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Industry, Adaora Chukwu, described the deal as a milestone, listing its many socio-economic benefits to the state.

“Today, we witnessed a remarkable milestone. Recall that before His Excellency came on board, one of the first promises he had made to the people of Enugu State was to revive our non-operational assets and United Palm Products Ltd is one significant asset that has been dormant for years. And what we did today was the partial handover and the contract signing of UPPL to a company called Pragmatic Palm Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Diamond Stripes Ltd.

“The economic significance of what we did today is huge: The number of jobs it will create, the multiplier effects in terms of increasing production in the oil palm industry. You know that oil palm is an export commodity. We are not talking about the forex earnings into the state and also the building of capacity in-house, technology transfer, as well as skills and knowledge transfer to the people of Enugu State,” she said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director/CEO of Pragmatic Palms, George Nwangwu, said that palm products were in high demand, noting that United Palm Products Limited was capable of kick-starting the economic transformation of Enugu State.

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“We have to realise that agriculture is a business. We are going to bring in a lot of equipment, and we are going to process the palm. Not just the palm, the palm kernel is an export commodity. If you go back and look at the biggest import over the years, palm is actually number five on the list. So, it is a significant product, and we tend to make sure we optimise its potentials here.

“The idea is to kick-start the economic transformation of the state. For instance, if we produce enough, people will come and set up their soap factories and then employ more people. It has a multiplier effect.

“Also, just to give you an example, to get the one at Oji River running, you are talking about close to 500 people because we need people to weed, to operate the plants and process it. So, you are also creating direct employment. If you put all these together, you can see that it runs into thousands of jobs,” he explained.

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