Investments in OGFTZ exceeds $2bn, says management
• Employs 6,000 locals
Investments in the Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone, in Igesa Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, is said to have exceeded over $2 billion, Daniel Che, the Deputy General Manager declared, Tuesday.
Che made the revelation in Abuja, while talking with journalists on the activities of the Zone since it was established eight years ago. He insisted that OGFTZ has been a success story, judging by the number of companies that have so far invested with several others indicating interest in setting up shops in the area.
“Currently, we have over 30 factories in the OGFTZ with a combined investment of over $2 billion, and more have indicated interest in setting up in the zone. As you are aware, what we have right now is just the first phase, and in actual fact we are moving to expand the operations of the zone so that more factories can come in. The total area designated as a free trade in Igbesa for the OGFTZ is over 2,000 hectares, and we can assure Nigerians that this land would be fully utilised to create a booming industrial zone, which would be to the benefit of the immediate community, the state, and Nigeria in general.”
Che noted that since the zone commenced operations it has contributed to the development of the host community, especially through employment creation for the local people, saying: “over 6000 people are currently employed by the zone; this is direct employment we are not talking about. Indirect employment, when you add that to the number of local contractors who are supplying raw materials to companies in the zone, you will begin to understand our impact on the local economy. Also, when you consider that we are just in the first phase of the development of the zone then you will begin to understand what we would be like in the next five to 10 years by the time we begin to implement the next phase of this project. OGFTZ would eventually emerge as the best managed and the biggest in Africa.”
On why Nigeria should accord attention to the Free Trade model, Che observed that with the establishment of special economic zones (SEZ) in the south eastern coastal region of China, more than hundred zones of various kinds have so for been established, a development he said is largely responsible for the remarkable growth of China over the years.
“As a result of this successful Chinese model, there have been strong interests by many countries to emulate the model by adopting the Free Trade Zone as an economic policy. Free Trade Zone focuses on trade liberalisation and export-led growth, attracting foreign investments, and enhancing the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector to create employments, technological transfer and human capacity development among others, it is a win-win for both the Zone and the host country,” Che said.Some of the global brands currently operating in the zone include Goodwill Ceramic, Hewang Packaging, Pannda Industry, China Glass, and a host of others.