The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to making Ekiti State a significant free trade zone in Nigeria by assisting the state in establishing an economic and knowledge-free zone from which education-based industries and technology companies can operate.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Authority’s Managing Director, announced this in Ado-Ekiti Friday during a courtesy visit to Ekiti State Governor, Oyebanji.
The NEPZA CEO stated that developing the economic zone would strengthen the state’s economy, raise its locally generated revenue, and lessen the state’s dependency on federal funding.
NEPZA now manages 44 private and two public free trade zones with 625 enterprises providing 150,000 direct jobs and an estimated 250,000 indirect jobs with a total investment put at 26 billion US dollars.
Prof Adesugba, who told Nigerians that the free trade zone would be completed in 18 months, said he was in the state to confirm the Federal Government’s commitment to the project’s successful completion. He urged industry leaders and drivers to invest in the state once the zone is complete.
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 blockchain technology where technology 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 first of all to get a Presidential declaration to make that place a free zone. The Governor has given all of us a matching 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, 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 prepared 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.