Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
At least 5, 000 Global Manufacturing Companies have indicated interest to invest a whooping $500 Million (N240 billion) worth of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the proposed Empower Enugu Free Trade Zone.
The investment groups who are due in Enugu for the ground-breaking ceremony of the FTZ on Thursday are responding to the federal government’s economic diversification programme and the conducive environment provided by the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration in Enugu state.
Addressing journalists at the Government House, Enugu, the CEO of Empower Free Trade Zone Management Company, Mr. Emeka Eneh and the Enugu State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barr. Sam Ogbu Nwobodo said activities of the industrial clusters hosted in the free trade zone are expected to create over 30, 000 jobs.
According to them, the Empower FTZ is a public-private initiative with Enugu state government which was licenced by the federal government to operate as a free trade zone in December 2015, offering international and domestic investors the benefits of connecting to business opportunities from the south-eastern cluster, expected to the second largest economic cluster in the country outside Lagos.
They disclosed that the zone was designed to accommodate at least 500 companies located in two free zone areas at the 9th Mile industrial area and the Akanu-Ibiam International Airport, adding that the state government was positioning the zone project as the biggest private sector investment support to the government’s economic recovery efforts.
The specialised industrial clusters to be developed within the area, according to them include the Manufacturing Centre and Wholesale market, the Aviation and Aeto-Space Cluster, the Power, Utilities and Light Manufacturing Cluster, the Health Care Park, the Business and Hospitality Park, Technology and Digital Media Park and the Chemical and Agro-Business Cluster.
“We intend to provide uninterrupted power supply via an embedded power arrangements, certify the free zone’s infrastructure and operations to globally accepted standards, operate the zone as a one-stop investment destination by integrating all free zone operations with the documentation and cargo handling, customs, immigration administration processes to achieve ease of doing business rating equivalent to that of Dubai.
“Besides, the Empower FTZ is to host Africa’s first ever Nigeria-Vhina “Dragon Market”, the second manufacturing and wholesale centre after the famous Dubai Dragon Market,” they noted.