The investment potentials of the $300m Aba Mega Mall (AMM) , literally got investors who gathered at a London road show on Monday, March 23, salivating and itching for a piece of the action.
Apart from the promised returns of about seven per cent on investments outlined by AMM’s Managing Director, Paul Obanua, the regeneration of the city and its environs, coupled with the creation of hundreds of jobs for the youths, sounded like good music to the ears of the audience and these kept prospective investors asking relevant questions during the interactive session.
“We want to create value for investors and our community,” Obanua told them, and quickly added that the “Nigerian government alone cannot develop Nigeria.”
He continued: ”If Nairobi with a population less than half of Lagos can have 23 malls,” while the latter boasts of only four, then the time to move from open markets to smart shopping has arrived and the opportunity to own a stake in it is what an investment in AMM is making available.
Aba, he added, even “needs more retail spaces than Lagos,” and as such, guaranteed investors that any retail spaces they stake their capital on “will be rented within ninety days.”
Moreover, he also excited investors when he told them that AMM will allow local entrepreneurs to standardise the popular “made in Aba products,” which many already buy and wear, but thinking they were imported.
Lending credence to the viability of the project, deputy controller of Customs, Wale Adeniyi (who stood in for the Comptroller–General of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Abdullahi Dikko Inde), told investors that NCS had thrown its weight behind the multi –million dollar mega project by ensuring that “bonded terminals are incorporated into the design of the mega mall.”
He also assured them that not only is the Mall strategically located to serve the entire South Eastern part of the country, “goods –imported for use in the mall – will be escorted by Naval men from Onne for safe and prompt delivery. “
Adeniyi went further, urging the investors to be part of the evolving transition of moving from “traditional to smart shopping malls,” and also revealed that with the sophistication of Nigerians, many of who now order their lunch -of Eba and amala – online, NCS itself has already gone a few steps ahead with the introduction of Pre-Assessment Report , PAR, a tool which he said, will “guarantee faster clearance of goods.”
PAR, he added, generated billions of naira into the Federation Account last year.
Fielding questions during the interactive sessions, Obanua later told investors that the local community has a stake in the project and that it is the only way that could prevent future agitations. “Their stake is employment and empowerment. About three thousand jobs will be created”, he said, while responding to one of the many questions posed to him.