The Federal Government has restated its commitment to make Ekiti a major Free Trade Zone in Nigeria.
The government said this would support the state in delivering economic and knowledge-free zone where education-based industries and technological companies could operate.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), said this during a courtesy visit to Gov. Biodun Oyebanji, in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday.
Adesugba said the establishment of the economic zone would boost the economy of the state and increase its Internally Generated Revenue as well as reduce over-reliance on federal allocation.
He commended Ekiti Government for being proactive by creating education and knowledge zone.
He gave the assurance that the free trade zone would be ready within 18 months, adding that he was in Ekiti to confirm the commitment of the Federal Government toward the successful completion of the project.
He called on drivers and captains of industries to invest in the state when the zone was ready.
“I personally came to Ekiti to express the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to support the state in delivering economic and knowledge free zone
“Government is committed to making Ekiti home of block chain technology, where technological companies and other industries that have things to do with education will be ready to invest.
” Ekiti is known for education and ideas innovation and this is where we are going to show the world that Nigeria has arrived,” he said.
The NEPZA managing director further said that the first thing was to get presidential declaration to make Ekiti a free zone.
”Oyebanji has given a matching order and within 18 months, we will get so many industries, both virtual and on-sight there,” he said.
Adesugba gave the assurance that people were already planning and working, and on the part of NEPZA, it would ensure the approval of the president.
In his remarks, Oyebanji said there was the need for the Federal Government to fast-track the completion of the project to attract more investors to the state, adding that productivity would always lead to shared prosperity.
The governor said that it was not wise for any state to drive its economy on monthly federal allocation, as it could not be used for effective wealth creation.
He noted that there was the need to fast-track declaration on Ekiti Knowledge Zone.
”My administration campaign is on a mantra of shared prosperity and that a people cannot prosper if they are not productive,” he said.
Oyebanji said that whether the Federal Allocation Account Committee came or not, if a society was productive, there would be wealth creation.
According to him, the fact is that the only thing Ekiti is known for is its intellectual resources.
“As a government, I am ready to lead from the front, I am ready to provide every support that is needed to drive this to ensure success.
“It will be fine, if we are able to meet the stipulated deadline because without that certification, we will not be able to do anything and investors will not come,” he said.
The governor added that Ekiti Government had invested a lot in infrastructure to drive the zone, and that much resources had been put on the Airport project.
He appealed to the Federal Government to execute the project.