By Akeem Abas
Ibadan – Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has stated that his administration has secured the commitment of five billion dollars from China in the development of the newly established Free Trade Zone(FTZ) in the state.
The governor made the disclosure while receiving an Industrial Policy and Strategic Document from a delegation of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the UNIDO team was led by Mr Jean Bakole, representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office Hub.
NAN reports that the Industrial Policy Document was developed by Oyo State Government with the approval and collaboration of UNIDO.
Ajimobi said the establishment of the FTZ was part of his administration’s determination to make the state an industrial hub of the nation.
Ajimobi said that no fewer than 150 investors from china have signified their intention to invest in the FTZ out of which seven of them have already began work at the FTZ site.
“Our administration has not relented in its efforts at infrastructural development of the state, creation of jobs for the youths, revenue growth and the protection of well-being of the citizenry.
“We have evolved several initiatives in all the various sectors of governance and which have been yielding desired results,’’ he said.
He said that the administration’s commitment to industrialization was evident in a recent ranking, which placed the state as one of the safest and conducive for doing business.
Ajimobi said that his administration was currently using agriculture as a platform of the state’s industrialization, adding the state was now been seen as the centre of industrial revolution.
He commended UNIDO for selecting the state as the first beneficiary of its collaboration in Nigeria, promising the opportunity would be fully and judiciously utilized.
Mrs Taibat Adeyemi-Agaba, the State Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Cooperatives said that the document would, on implementation, be the best in the south west region of the country, having considered contributions from internal and external stakeholders.
Earlier, Bakole commended the transformation efforts of the Ajimobi-led administration in the state, adding they are in the state to support government efforts through effective collaboration.
“Our main job is to support economic growth and transformation. We are here to see how we could build a roadmap to develop some various sectors.
“This, we have done, in collaboration with the state,to develop a policy and strategic document being presented here today,’’ he said.
Bakole, who assumed the position of regional head in Nigeria five months ago, expressed gratitude to the federal government for his warm welcome in the country.
He said that it was a great opportunity for him to work in Nigeria, which was the leading economy in the African continent.
“I don’t always compare Nigeria with South Africa because they have different histories. You have shown me various examples and efforts here in Nigeria, which are different from other countries in Africa,’’ he said.
“I intentionally came into the state from Lagos by road to have a glimpse of the resources the nation was blessed with.
“On my way, I saw the country was blessed with resources that could aid agro processing and agripreneur development,’’ he said.
He commended the state government for developing the Ibadan City Master Plan, which he said has shown the state government’s commitment to the transformation of the state.
Bakole stated that the master plan and the Industrial policy document were developmental documents that would aid rapid development of state through strategic framework and roadmaps.