By Martins Odey
The Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, called on Ebonyi government provide state-of-the-art infrastructure for the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the state.
The state crossed the last hurdle of requirements to operate a zone with the handing over of the Certificate of Occupancy, (C-of-O) by Gov. David Umahi, represented by his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe to the NEPZA boss on Monday, November 9 in Abakaliki.
Adesugba, who expressed delight on the zeal shown by the state to host the zone, explained that the Authority would, however, not comprise on the infrastructure requirement of the location.
“Infrastructure is key in a free trade zone because such business enclave would not function optimally without good road network, steady power, water and such other state-of-the-art facilities that would be needed by enterprises and investors.
“It is with this in mind that I urge the Ebonyi State Government to ensure a seamless provision of both outside and inside infrastructure for the zone.
“This world class infrastructure when developed, will attract investors, industries speedily to the zone thereby opening the horizon for ease of doing business and industrialization of the state’’, the NEPZA boss said.
Adesugba reiterated the Authority’s readiness to execute President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate of industrializing the country using the free zone concept.
He said the agency was assiduously working towards developing the other five Special Economic Zones in Benue, Lagos, Gombe, Kwara and Funtua in Katsina State respectively.
On his part, the governor represented by his deputy, Igwe said the state was committed to the success of the project, adding that only a collaborative effort between the state, Federal Government and the private sector would lead to the success of the project.
Umahi explained that the free trade zone concept managed by NEPZA on behalf of the federal government had the capacity to open up the country for genuine business opportunities, saying that the state was lucky to be part of the initiative.
“This Special Economic Zone when operational will stimulate economic activities in the state, it will engender development, creates job opportunities for our teeming youth population and fast track ease of doing business.
“Ebonyi will play its part to ensure speedy reaslisation of the project. We can only urge the federal government not to slow down its commitment to the takeoff of this laudable project’’, Umahi said.
The high point of the meeting was the official handing over of the Certificate-of-Occupancy of the site of the zone to NEPZA managing director.