THE Osun State Government has signed an agreement worth N216 billion with a Chinese firm, Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited, on the establishment of Industrial Park in the state.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola during the agreement signing at a state dinner at the Government House banquet hall in Osogbo stated that the state had agreed to allocate 200 hectares of land to facilitate the establishment of the Industrial Park in Osun.
The partnership, according to the governor, would support the state on six different investments which includes; cocoa bean processing, chocolate and food processing, salt processing, cassava starch processing, gold mining and power plants.
The total investment by Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited on the Industrial Park is USD 600 million.
He described the multi-billion naira investment partnership as part of his administration’s efforts to raise the bar of local and foreign investment in the state.
The governor held that the agreement would go a long way to support the economic drive of the state, particularly in the quest for industrialisation.
Reading through a copy of the agreement, Aregbesola said the project would take-off by January next year as the state was ready to give all possible support to actualise the success of the proposed Industrial Park.
The agreement reads in part: ”On November 28, 2017 Jangsu WUXI TAIHU Cocoa Food Co., Ltd. held talks with the State Government of Osun, Nigeria on the investment in the establishment of Industrial Park in Osun State.
“Through full communication and negotiation, both sides reached resolutions which are summarized as follows: “the Osun Government of Nigeria agrees that Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food company Limited will invest to establish the Industrial Park in Osun State who will allocate 200 hectares of land for the Industrial Park.
“The total investment by Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited on the Industrial Park is USD 600 million. The first phase of the project includes six projects: Cocoa bean processing, chocolate and food processing, salt processing, cassava starch processing, gold mining and power plants.
“The construction project of Jiangsu Wuxi Tiahu Industrial Park will strictly abide by the relevant laws and regulations of the State Government of Osun and Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The government will provide policy guidance for the construction of JiangsuTaihu Wuxi Industrial Park and give support of energy, infrastructure and other aspects. After the completion of the project, favourable tax terms will be given.
“The state government will set up a working group for the construction of Jiangsu Taihu Wuxi Industrial Park, which is responsible for the docking and service with China. The two sides agreed that the project would start in 2018.”
In his remarks, Liu Jianhui, the general manager of Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited, commended Aregbesola for tapping possible opportunities to develop the state commercially.
He said the company decided to establish $600 million worth projects in the state, having understudied the economic potentials of Osun to grow foreign investments.
Jiangsu assured the state of fruitful partnership that would bring change to the economic activities of the state and as well create a robust bilateral economic relation between the state and Chinese firm.
The company’s GM said the investment would generate employment opportunities for the youths, thus creating wealth and employment for the state’s citizens.
According to him, “we are bringing a huge investment into the state of Osun so as to complement the existing investment on cocoa processing industry and as well support the state economically, commercially and industrially.
“We have very strong confidence in the fact that the partnership would in no distance time bring about dividends to both parties as the state’s potentials would be appropriately utilized.”
Members of the State Executive Council present are the governor of the state; Grace Titilayo Laoye Tomori, deputy governor; Moshood Olalekan Adeoti, secretary to the state government; Gboyega Oyetola, chief of staff to the governor and Ajibola Bashiru, the attorney-general and commissioner for Justice.
Others are; Ismaila Jayeoba Alagbada, commissioner for Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives, and Stephen Babatunde Ajilore, the special adviser to the governor on Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources, all representing Osun State government.
Chinese delegation members included, Liu Jianhui; Zhang Hua, assistant general manager, Shanghai Golden Monkey Group; Xu Feng of Nigeria Skyrun Cocoa Industrial Products Limited and Chinese delegation members.
Earlier in his welcome address, Alagbada lauded Aregbesola’s commitment to turn Osun to a commercial hub of the southwest region.
He confirmed the progress which the previous Chinese investment had made in the cocoa processing industry located at Ede, saying “we are here to chat a new course for the development of our dear state.”