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2009-07-02:Chinese group launches biggest industrial park in Nigeria

Segun Adeleye & Remi Ladigbolu

 

A major milestone in the industrialisation of Ogun State was recorded yesterday with the laying of the foundation for a massive industrial park in the... Gateway State.

Covering 1650 hectares of land between Keke and Ijemo villages on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the park, billed to accommodate 27 companies, was described as “the biggest of its kind in the country.”

The ceremony was the climax of a two-day visit of a high-level Chinese business delegation headed by the Governor of Zhejiang Province, Mr. Lu Zushan, to Ogun State.

Ogun State, which has been refocused by the Daniel administration as the investment destination of choice in the country, will also play host to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on Monday when he is expected to commission the new secretariat complex at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

The foundation laying of the park, being undertaken by a Chinese firm, Lee Group of Companies, was jointly performed by Daniel, Zushan, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Liu Kuu, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Aremu Gbadebo, among others.

Daniel appealed to the villagers to give maximum cooperation to the contractors working at the site and the personnel promoting the project to engender an atmosphere of peace.

Some of the factories in the first phase of the project are footwear, wood products, plastic pipes and plastic scrap processing, truck assembly plants, construction firms, furniture companies, woven bag factories, flour mill, waste water treatment plant, plastic window frame factory, generator assembly plant, cosmetic manufacturing factory and bonded warehouse terminal, among others.

Abeokuta, the state capital, was agog yesterday as eminent personalities in the business sector stormed the city to network with the 52-man business delegation from the most populous country.

The dignitaries, who spoke in separate interviews during an executive networking session organised for the delegation, were unanimous in their commendation of the governor’s visionary and purposeful leadership, which has seen the state transform into the preferred destination for local and foreign investors.

Oba Adetona, the chairman of the state Council of Obas, said: “This initiative is very commendable. I wish him (Daniel) further progress. Nothing will happen if all the states are waiting for the Federal Government to take this kind of initiative. Heaven helps only those who help themselves.”

The President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oba Otudeko, said: “It is Otunba Gbenga Daniel at his best. He has always led with pro-activeness. He is doing exactly what he is supposed to do. He is leading us to leverage on the superlative development initiatives that have seen China as a world leader and power house.”

Former Finance Minister, Dr. Onaolapo Soleye, said of the initiative: “I am not surprised about this initiative of Governor Gbenga Daniel. He has always been a focused and dedicated person. He is packaging Ogun State in such a way that in the nearest future, it will become a serious industrial haven in Nigeria.”

Chief Ogoolouwa Bankole, the Chairman of Premier Paints Plc and former Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ogun State chapter, said: “This is very good networking between Ogun State and China. It is a rare privilege to assemble all the key players in the industrial sectors under one roof. It would have cost a fortune if one were to travel to China and you can never manage to reach out to as many potential partners as would be possible in this forum. But Ogun State has made that possible. Of course, this is just the beginning. This is a platform for us to build on.”

Mr. Adebayo Jimoh, the Group Managing Director, Odu’a Investment Company Limited, said: “This is a very great opportunity. It is like a one-stop investment opportunity for Ogun State, the South-West and, of course, Nigeria. For a great industrial area in China coming to Nigeria and bringing all sectors for industrial relationship and opportunity is indeed special. It is a great opportunity to attract foreign direct investment to Ogun State. This is a good initiative the state government has taken.”

At the executive business session, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ogun State and Zhejiang Province was signed by the two governors.

Daniel acknowledged the importance of the Chinese province and the benefit the relationship would yield.

In the huge economy that China has become, Zhejiang Province has emerged as one of the most important in the country and one of the most advanced. Similarly, Ogun State is a state of promises with high education indices that often surpass UNESCO benchmarks,” he said.

On the status of Ogun as a Gateway State, he said the people should be conscious of this and ensure that it led in transportation, agriculture and others. “With the industrialisation plan in place, the vision would be achieved.”

Zushan acknowledged that the new airport and deep sea projects in Ogun would go a long way to industrialise the state.

He assured that the cooperation between Ogun and his province, which he said has a population of about 52 million, would attract more investors to the state.

Source:Nigerian Compass

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