Arrangements are in top gear for Abia State Government to establish a new city in the Southeast NIgeria, as a President’s approval for an Export Processing Zone licence for the Enyimba Industrial City project is being awaited.
The Project Consultant, Chief Darl Uzu, who disclosed this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said there might be delays in realising the project because of its nature which would take a long time to achieve.
He said that the handlers submitted a Free-Trade Zone application to Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) which had been processed and passed to the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment for approval.
“We are going on to follow-up on that because he has to make recommendation to the President who would take the project to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
“Every other thing is coming up. Aside the infrastructure, we are putting all things together. The likes of Dubai have joined us and Group Five of South Africa and AFC have come out to show interest.
“World Bank also has a stake but what happens with World Bank is that you have to get the private sector just like a guarantor. Anything you are doing has to be bankable for World Bank to come in.
“But we have been engaging them. We have had a meeting with them in Abuja here and we have also had a meeting with them in Washington DC in November 2017,” he said.
Uzu said that the proposed commencement of work at the site had been shifted to February.
NAN reports that Abia Government had earlier said in December 2017 that work on the project was billed to start in January 2018.
He said that although the project involved a Singaporean Urban, Industrial and Infrastructure firm (Surbana Jurong), they would work with local town planners.
Uzu said that he would leave for Singapore sometime in February to finalise all the design arrangements with the company.
He said that the Federal Government had approved N5 billion to support the Enyimba Industrial City project in the 2018 budget.
Uzu further said that the city, spanning Ugwulagbo, Ukwa East and Ukwa West areas, would connect South-South and South-East states.
He said the project was expected to provide jobs for one million citizens following massive industrial development and expanded business opportunities coming with it.
NAN reports that although the Abuja office of World Bank, in a message signed by its Public Affairs Officer, Olufunke Olufon and sent to NAN, said “Kindly note no such project exists”, Abia Government is working hard to realise the project because of its huge benefits. (NAN)