The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says development of Medical and Agro-allied Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Ilorin, Kwara would soon commence.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA’s Managing Director, made the remark in a statement by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA on Thursday in Abuja.
Adesugba said this after he took delivery of the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) the 500 hectares for the Medical Special Economic Zone and 276 hectares for Agro-allied Special Economic Zone respectively.
The NEPZA Chief described Kwara state as a charming investment destination for both state-of-the-arts medical and agro-allied hubs.
He said the improvement made on infrastructure in the state by Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq had increased the value of the state as an investment destination.
He explained that history was being made with the take-over of the sites for the Kwara SEZs, adding that arrangements were underway to commence the development of the locations.
Adesugba said the medical zone would be home to world class hospitals and pharmaceutical industries while the agro-allied zone would serve as convergence spot for agricultural food chain.
According to him, farmers, agro-allied investors and industries will reap the economic advantages associated with the zone operation.
“Investment does not stay in the air, investment goes to destinations, investment looks for succour where it is most welcomed. Investment goes to where there is a will to support it.
“We have discovered that Kwara state seems to be a welcoming state that we can work with in terms of setting up of a special economic zone.
“This must have been the contemplation of those who have been here before me and that of President Muhammadu Buhari who supports industrialisation of Nigeria and also ensuring that we who are the implementors do our jobs unhindered.
“The vision of the president is to use the free trade zone scheme to fast track the industrialisation of the country. Let me reiterate by saying that the opportunity to warehouse trade zone is open to all states of the federation.
“This is why Kwara state happens to be one of the six zones we are supposed to start-off with. And today, we are happy to start off with Kwara, being the first three that we are working on this year,” he noted.
He said it had gone far, especially on the first phase of the project in Kwara, located at Share in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state for an SEZ that would be featuring agro-allied industries.
He further said NEPZA would work with the state to provide the state-of-the-art infrastructure and promote investments in the area.
“Already, we have prospective investors and companies from Turkey, Egypt, China and other parts of the world asking us where to locate their industries. This would definitely be a good location for them.
“In line with the Federal Government agenda for industrialisation, states are required to take advantage of the SEZs in addressing issues on unemployment, security, poverty, and infrastructure deficits,’’ Adesugba said.
On his part, Abdulrazaq said the importance of the zone scheme on economic emancipation could not be overemphasised, adding that the upcoming Kwara SEZs would accelerate infrastructural development and job opportunities for youth in the state.
“One of the unique features of the Kwara state Free Trade Zone is its proximity to the Ilorin International Airport. The KSFTZ is just 15 minutes away from the airport allowing for ease of access to local and international visitors.
“Today, we are honoured by the presence of the Managing Director of NEPZA, who has personally come to inspect the sites and sign the C of O of the lands.
“We appreciate his commitment to both projects and we intend to reciprocate his kind gesture by making them top priorities. We will make all the right investments to make the effort a success,’’ the governor said.
Abdulrazaq further explained that free trade zones created unique opportunities globally, adding that Kwara would fully key into the scheme to stimulate wealth.
“This zone will serve as stimulant for exports and a strategic point for technological transfer. With this economic zone, Kwara state is in a strong race to compete nationally and beyond’’, the governor said.