By Chris Ndibe
The Ebonyi state has described the approval given to it for the establishment of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by President Muhammadu Buhari as a worthy overture capable of harnessing the economic potentials of the entire eastern region.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi made the commendation when he handed over the original copy of the Certificate of Occupancy of the site where the zone would be located to Prof. Adesoji Adsugba, Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, said in a statement that Umahi was represented by Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, a Federal Lawmaker, representing Abakaliki/Izzi Federal Constituency of the state at the House of Representatives.
Umahi said the president had by this action finally accorded the region the capacity to live up to its bragging right as a true industrial hub in Africa.
The governor explained that the Buhari’s administration was now energizing NEPZA to drive the country’s industrialization, adding that the zeal and commitment of the new managing director to ensure the realization of this goal had been legendary.
“Let me unequivocally state that, the Government and the people of Ebonyi State shall forever remain grateful to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for considering the state worthy to be among the six states to benefit from this wonderful initiative.
“We are equally grateful to NEPZA Management led by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba for ensuring that our dream of having a special business enclave like the free trade zone came to fruition.
“ The state will in collaboration with the federal government, NEPZA, the Organised Private Sector, enterprises and investors from across the world ensure that this business ecosystem is developed with world class infrastructure for the benefit of the country,’’ Umahi said.
He also said the industrial base would be fully exploited by the region as according to him, the zone will create jobs, spark export of industrial goods, attract both Local/Foreign Direct Investments and reduce poverty among the people.
Meanwhile, the NEPZA Chief Executive Officer, said he was elated to witness the delivery of the original copy of the C-of-O of the proposed site of the zone, adding that he was also ecstatic with the commitment of the state toward the project so far.
Adesugba reiterated that President Buhari had bestowed parts of the Post-Covid-19 economic recovery plans and industrialization process of the country on NEPZA, adding that the Authority had the mandate of ensuring the buying-ins of all the state governments to achieve these noble targets.
“The Ebonyi State Government has shown to us that when there is a will, there must be a way. I therefore, add my voice to thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for enlisting the state into free trade zone family’’, NEPZA boss said.