The Federal Government, through the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), has restated its commitment to make Ekiti State a major free trade zone in Nigeria by supporting the state in delivering economic and knowledge free zone where education based industries and technological companies can operate from.
The Managing Director of the authority, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba made this known in Ado-Ekiti during a courtesy visit to Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji on Thursday
The NEPZA boss said the establishment of the economic zone would boost the economy of the state and increase its internally generated revenue as well as reduce over-reliance on federal allocation.
Prof. Adesugba commended the Governor for being proactive and for his ideas of creating Education and Knowledge zone, describing it as novel. He assured the state of the support of the authority and prompt completion of the project.
Prof Adesugba, who assured Nigerians that the free trade zone would be ready within 18 months, said he was in the state to confirm the commitment of the Federal Government towards the successful completion of the project. He called on drivers and captains of industries to invest in the state when the zone is ready.
According to Prof. Adesoji, “I personally came to Ekiti state to show the good commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to support Ekiti State in delivering economic and knowledge free zone and be the home of block chain technology where technological companies and other industries that have things to do with education.
“You know Ekiti is known for education and ideas innovation, and this is where we are going to show the world that Nigeria has arrived.
“The first thing for us is to first of all get Presidential declaration to make that place a free zone. The Governor has given all of us a marching order and within the next 18 months, we would get so many industries, both virtual and on-sight there. As we speak, there are people who are already planning and working, so, we, on our own part are to get this approval.
In his remarks, Governor Biodun Oyebanji stressed the need for the Federal Government to fast-track the completion of the project to attract more investors to the state, adding that productivity would always lead to shared prosperity.
While using the opportunity to flaunt the intellectual resources of the state, the Governor stated that it is not wise for any state to drive its economy on monthly federal allocation as it cannot be used for effective wealth creation.
“On the need to fast-track declaration on Ekiti Knowledge Zone, we campaign on a mantra of shared prosperity and you know that a people cannot prosper if they are not productive and we don’t believe that FAAC can drive prosperity, so whether FAAC comes or not, if a society is productive, there will be wealth creation. And we are also aware of the fact that the only thing we have in Ekiti is our intellectual resources.
“As a government, I am ready to lead from the front, I am ready to provide every support that is needed to drive this to ensure success and meet the stipulated deadline, because without that certification, we won’t be able to do anything and investors will not come, but if you are able to attract them and bring them here and that is why we are working hard on the Airport to compliment what we are doing.
“We have invested a lot in infrastructure to drive that zone, I am pleading on behalf of my people to please do this for us,” he stated.