Oyo to Revamp Free Trade Zone to Boost Economy– Segun Ogunwuyi
Past govt paid lip service to Free Trade Zone,says Oyo Govt
…Vows to use trade zones to revamp state economy
…Says N1bn matching funds to support SMEs
The Oyo State Government has said the past admintration paid lip service to the building of free trade zone in the state.
The Chairman, Oyo State Investment and Public Private Partnership Agency, Mr. Segun Ogunwuyi disclosed this while speaking with journalists in Ibadan.
Hon Ogunwuyi reiterated the committment of the Seyi Makinde-led admintration to revive free trade zones to revamp the economy of the state.
While pointing out that free trade zones are the next goldmine and cash cow after oil, Ogunwuyi emphasized that the government would leverage on the free trade zones to move the state forward.
His words:”Previous government paid lip service to free trade zone. We as a government we are not interested in just talking about something but we are interested in people seeing it on ground.
“Currently we are working on bringing back free trade zones into life. And when you say free trade zone, someone say the next best thing after crude oil for any state is to have free trade zone. We are going to see that happen.
“There is what we call electropolis. Electropolis is an economic build around the airport and talk is going with our firm.
“Some investment that has to be done into the Ibadan Airport. That airport can become to cargo and at least do commercial flight into part of Africa that is ongoing conversation that I believe before the next one year that economy around airport would have grow. Agribusiness would have grown in other pace that people do use cargo to take Agric produce out of Ibadan into neighbouring states and to the western world. I see a lot of that happening around area of our economic zone and the leadership of his Excellency Engineer Seyi Makinde”.
It would be recalled that the Abiola Ajimobi administration said it secured the commitment of $5 billion from China in the development of the newly established Free Trade Zone in the state.
A free trade zone is a special economic zone where goods may be landed, stored, handled, manufactured and re-exported without tthe payment of customs duty.
The chairman of the investment agency also reeled out the achievements and plans of the agency,saying the main objective is to set the state on the trajectory of economic prosperity.
“We have been able to record a lot of achievement. Broadly we have four areas of mandate. Investment promotion. That is, we are the investment porter to get investors in, recycling businesses in Oyo state as well as to keep investment in Oyo state by creating an enabling environment for them.
“Support small and medium enterprise. Including the micro-enterprise as well. This we have been able to do with a fund with bank of industry.
We have matching funds of 500 million while Bank of Industry as well has 500 million, making one billion naira fund with Bank of Industry.
“Currently his Excellency Engr Seyi Makinde is about to roll out a micro finance to the micro businesses.
We have been able to support MSMEs.The area of MSMEs. We support businesses with fund and the fund is not free fund but it come cheap.
“Third, to concession government moribound asset.The Pacesetter and Quarry Asphalt was handed to an investor that was made possible with the agency and it’s sister agency, agency of solid mineral. We also have other asset that are being concessioned. For instance,Agbowo shopping complex, very soon Agbowo shopping complex would be handed over to preferred investor, so that gigantic building would be making money for the state.
“We also do public, private partnership means government is contributing something like an equity while the investors is also bringing his own equity. We have alot of initiative on that as well.
“For instance, we currently have an initiative in ajoda new of a 360 unit of houses being done on a public, Private partnership basis with an investor and that we have signed all agreement and investor is actually on site as well.We also have prime estate within Bodija, being done partnership with some investors.
“We are also working with shippers council on Ibadan inland dry port, if not for the Covid-19 we should have gone into negotiation and we should have some agreement by now.
“The inland dryport is meant to be a port of export and import anybody from Nigeria can import his cargo and decide his cargo move to ibadan. When the cargo get to Apapa it can move to Ibadan via the rail in Ibadan and take it to the interland.
“The project is happening with Oyo state government as a co-owner of the business while the federal government is represented by the shippers council.
“Within the one year that this government has come to be we have been able to sign MOU and agreement of over Eleven project.
Project that have been moribound for the past ten to nine years. Our mandate is to expand the economy to also let people know that Oyo state is open for business”.
He added that in the next one year the economy would expand at a level that people would love to live and to work in the state.