The Abia Economic Enhancement Team says the state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two firms for the development of an industrial cluster tagged “Enyimba Economic City’’.
Chinenye Nwaogu, a member of the economic team, said this on Wednesday in Umuahia, while briefing newsmen on the project, supported by the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi.
Nwaogu, also the Special Adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Social Investment and Empowerment, said the firms included a Nigerian property developer, known as Crown Realities, and Chinese-based RUYI Group.
He said that Crown Realities had already completed the design for the project at a cost of 1.3 million dollars, while RUYI Group had also committed 2.5 billion dollars to the project.
Nwaogu said that the 2.5 billion dollars was invested on power generation, adding that the firm was also talking with Geometric Power Plant in Aba on the need to provide uninterrupted power supply to the city.
According to him, the project sited on 9,800 hectares of land, spread through Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Ugwunagbo Local Government Areas of the state.
He described the area as most suitable for the project because of its proximity to Onne and Port Harcourt seaports, the Port Harcourt and Imo Airports as well as the huge gas deposit in Ukwa West.
Nwaogu said that government’s interest was to have the project completely driven by the private sector, hence it had not committed state funds to it.
He said that the companies had commenced claims survey to confirm the proportion of land belonging to each of the landowners.
The special adviser said that the survey would help in determining the appropriate compensation to be paid by the companies.
Nwaogu and Okiyi expressed joy that the Federal Government had also shown tremendous interest in the project and had set aside N10 billion to be invested in it.
Both officials also said that the state was waiting for Federal Government’s approval to the proposal to make the city a Free Trade Zone.
They said that the state House of Assembly had passed legislation on the project, known as “Enyimba Economic Development Law’’ in order to ensure its realisation, even after the present administration.
They said that the project would become the biggest economic hub in the South East when completed, adding that the first phase would commence in the last quarter of the year.
They said that RUYI Group, which was a conglomerate, would set up the city with more than 22 of its subsidiaries.
Okiyi said: “The project will help to redefine the economic landscape of Abia with abundant job creation.’’