In recent times, Nigeria’s quest to achieve a desirable industrialisation through the establishment of various industrial parks nationwide has gathered momentum. TAIWO HASSAN examines the role of these parks in the development of the nation’s economy
As the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari intensifies its moves for the diversification initiative, the establishment of special parks nationwide has been identified as one of the critical ways to achieving industrial potential.
In fact, the strategy has been adopted in many industrialised countries around the world as a prerequisite to achieving several economic growths, economic diversification and also becoming exporters of consumer goods.
No doubt, the quest to establish industrial parks nationwide would not only lead to job creation for Nigerians but also place Nigeria on the global map as an industrialised country.
It is no longer news that many of the states in Nigeria have been intensifying efforts to establish industrial parks to boost economy to get the country out of the current quagmire.
Last week, Osun State joined other states that have signed up to establishing industrial parks to achieve economic potential.
The Osun State Government signed an agreement worth N216 billion with a Chinese firm, Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited, to this effect.
It is beloved that the signed agreement between the state government and the Chinese firm will unearth the industrial potential in the state for economic growth.
At the agreement signing in Osogbo, the state capital, Governor Rauf Aregbesola said that the state had agreed to allocate 200 hectares of land to facilitate the establishment of the park.
The partnership, according to the governor, will support the state on six different investments, which include cocoa bean processing, chocolate and food processing, salt processing, cassava starch processing, gold mining and power plants.
However, it was gathered that the total investment by Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited on the industrial park is $600 million.
The governor 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.
No doubt, the agreement would go a long way to support the economic drive of the state, particularly in the quest for industrialisation.
Prior to Osun’s move, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had laid the foundation stone of a N200 billion industrial park in Iyanomo community, Benin, Edo State.
At the event, Osinbajo said when established, the park would create 170,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute significantly to the development of the country’s manufacturing industry.
He observed that the establishment of the park was a huge investment, but noted that the economic benefits to be realised at the end of the completion were also huge.
According to him, “this is what the country has been waiting for to take it to greater heights.
“Several other countries have embarked on this line of industrialisation and succeeded. If we put in the same effort other countries have put in, we will also excel,” Osinbajo said.
“This strategy has been adopted in some Asian countries and they have achieved several economic growths, diversified their economy, and are now exporters of consumer goods.”
He expressed optimism that the park would not only lead to job creation but also reduce the cost of goods and services in the state and the country at large.
Osinbajo added that the park would also help change the face of the Nigerian economy and unleash its industrial potential, adding that the Federal Government would give the state the necessary support to ensure the completion of the project.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) had announced this year their intention to fast-track the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial parks in Nigeria, as part of efforts to diversify the nation’s economy.
UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office Hub, Mr. Jean Bakole, disclosed in Abuja that this was in demonstration of UNIDO’s commitment and support to the Federal Government towards the actualisation of its vision of establishing SEZs in the country.
According to him, the organisation had facilitated a three-day study tour for key officials of FMITI, its parastatals and the Presidency to exchange valuable information concerning Ethiopian’s recent experience and success story in industrial park establishment in order to replicate the same thing in Nigeria.
The UNIDO Representative said, “Accordingly, there was a consensus on the need to develop industrial infrastructures such as industrial parks, special economic zones as well as strengthen the public private partnership in order to strategically domesticate and fast track inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Nigeria.
“To achieve this objective, the FMITI requested UNIDO for assistance to organise a three-day study tour to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from June 21 to 24, 2017.”
Also, the Odu’a Group of Companies had entered into a joint venture partnership with Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), to establish an industrial park valued at N12 billion on the 12,000 square meters where the moribund textile industry in Ado Ekiti was located.
Under the terms, the partners plan to establish 31 industries, a vocational and skills centre as well as academic centre, where diploma in three engineering courses and advanced level certificates would be taught.
Speaking at the formal presentation of the project design for effective utilisation of the of the old Odu’a Textile Mills, ABUAD’ founder, Chief Afe Babalola, said Britain had predicted that Nigeria, Brazil, and India were to join the developed nations, but regretted that while the other two have become part of the developed world, the country is still a developing nation.
From all indications, the organised private sector believes that the springing up of these parks will benefit the country economically and also facilitate seamless trade.
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