Diversification: Pressure mounts on FG to establish more Free Trade Zones By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

 
Fri Jul 12th, 2019 - Abuja (FCT)
 

…OGFTZ investments hit $2bn

As investments at the Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone, situated in Igesa Ota Local Government Area of Ogun state hits $2 billion, stakeholders are mounting pressures on the Federal Government to replicate more of it in other geo-political zones.

Lekki free trade zone

Speaking in an interview in Abuja, Friday, the Deputy General Manager of OGFTZ, explained that China owes its massive industrialisation to free trade zones scattered all over the country.

This is as the host community has expressed appreciation that the OGFTZ which covers over 2000 hectares of land has so far been of immense benefit to them.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, over 6000 indegenes have gained direct employment, including youths sponsored for training in China to acquire better skills.

Che said since the establishment of the zone 8 years ago, there has been significant impact, judging by the number of companies that have invested in the zone and several others that have indicated interest in setting up shops in the zone.

Harping on the need for Nigeria to pay more attention to the Free Trade Zone model, he observed that starting from the 1980s and with the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the south eastern coastal region of China, more than a hundred zones of various kinds were established throughout China, which he said are largely responsible for the remarkable growth of China over the years.

According to him, “As a result of this successful Chinese model, there have been strong interest by many countries to emulate the model by adopting the Free Trade Zone as an economic policy. Free Trade Zone focuses on trade liberalization and export-led growth, attracting foreign investments and enhancing the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector to create employments, technological transfer and human capacity development among others, it is a win-win for both the Zone and the host country”.

On the impact of OGFTZ, he said currently there are over 30 factories in the zone with a combined investment of over 2 billion USD and more have indicated interest in setting up factories in the zone.

He said, “As you are aware what we have right now is just the first phase, in actual fact we are moving to expand the operations of the zone by so that more factories can come in.

“The total area designated as a free trade in Igbesa for the OGFTZ is over 2000 hectares we can assure Nigerians that that this land would be fully utilised to create a booming industrial zone which would be to the benefit of the immediate community, the state and Nigeria in general.

“Over 6000 people are currently employed by the zone, this is direct employment we are not talking about indirect employment, when you add that to the number of local contractors who are supplying raw materials to companies in the zone you would begin to understand our impact on the local economy.

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“When you consider that we are just in the first phase of the development of the zone then you would begin to understand what we would be like in the next five to ten years by the time we begin to implement the next phase of this project. OGFTZ would eventually emerge as the best managed and the biggest in Africa”.

Among some of the global brands currently operating in the zone include Goodwill Ceramic, Hewang Packaging, Pannda Industry, China Glass and a host of others.

Vanguard

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source: Vanguard