Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Chinese investors with stakes in Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ) have asked the federal government to establish replicate the OGFTZ concept in other geo-political zones nationwide.
With over 30 factories currently operating in the zone, the investors put the volume of investments in the OGFTZ at $2 trillion, eight years after its establishment as one of the first batch of eight foreign cooperation zones of China.
The Deputy General Manager in charge of the OGFTZ, Mr. Daniel Che made the disclosure at a session with journalists in Abuja, noting that the zone had made significant since it was established after the China-Africa Summit Forum in Beijing of 2006.
At the session, Che said the zone, which covers over 2000 hectares of land, had been of great benefit to the host communities, with over 6000 indigenes directly employed while some youths had been sponsored for training in China.
Since the establishment of the zone eight years ago, according to him, there has been significant impact, judging by the number of companies that have invested in the zone and several others that have indicated interest in setting up shops in the zone.
He said with the establishment of special economic zones (SEZ) in the south eastern coastal region of China, more than a hundred zones of various kinds were established throughout China, which he said, were largely responsible for the remarkable growth of China over the years.
He said: “As a result of this successful Chinese model, there has been strong interest by many countries to emulate the model by adopting the Free Trade Zone as an economic policy.
“Free Trade Zone focuses on trade liberalisation and export-led growth, attracting foreign investments and enhancing the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector to create employments, technological transfer and human capacity development among others, it is a win-win for both the Zone and the host country.
“As you are aware what we have right now is just the first phase, in actual fact, we are moving to expand the operations of the zone so that more factories can come in.
“The total area designated as a free trade in Igbesa for the OGFTZ is over 2000 hectares we can assure Nigerians that that this land would be fully utilised to create a booming industrial zone which would be to the benefit of the immediate community, the state and Nigeria in general.
“Over 6000 people are currently employed in the zone. This is direct employment. We are not talking about indirect employment. When you add that to the number of local contractors who are supplying raw materials to companies in the zone, you would begin to understand our impact on the local economy.
“When you consider that we are just in the first phase of the development of the zone then, you will begin to understand what we will be in the next five to ten years by the time we begin to implement the next phase of this project. OGFTZ will emerge as the best managed and the biggest in Africa.”
Che noted that among some of the global brands currently operating in the zone include Goodwill Ceramic, Hewang Packaging, Pannda Industry, China Glass and a host of others.