Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has pleaded with the Federal Government to approve the operation of the Remo Economic Zone as a Free Trade Zone.
Abiodun made the plea on Tuesday when he received the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, and her team in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
He noted that the approval was needed to enable processing companies that have signed to process their raw materials in the zone to commence operations.
He emphasized that the zone would record multiple processing companies willing to sign up to begin work in the next one year if the approval was given, saying out of the six Special Agro Processing Zones, the state has the highest number.
Abiodun said, “We have an impending application for the Remo Economic Zone in your office as a Special Economic Zone that enjoys the status of a Free Trade Zone, and the reason for that is very simple.
“The entire economic zone is being developed in partnership between the state government and the third party, and we have ĺlocated the airport as one of the Enablers of its own. Part of the requirements that we signed with our partner was that this economic zone would be a Free Trade Zone.
“It allows all the processing companies all over the world who have already signed to process in that zone to process the raw materials that will be brought from all over the state and the zone. They can export them to other parts of the continent.
“We are aware that when you assumed office, you decided to review the number of Free Trade Zones that we have in the country and decide on which ones are truly required, needed, and deserving.
“The problem we have is that our partner in his determination to move that economic zone, has begun to award contracts and because the model we have was that in the process of doing that, certain taxes that you would have to pay if it is not an economic zone and that is hindering the process which is why we are looking at ways solving the problem speedily.”
The governor said his administration has created four economic zones in the last four and a half years, in addition to the existence of the Agbara Industrial Zone.
“We realiaed that it is important to have these Economic Zones around the State so that investors can conveniently choose the part of the state that suits them. We constructed the Epe-Ijebu-ode road, and this road will evacuate goods and people from Lagos to the East through our state.
“We created another economic zone around Kajola because this is where we have the rail line that comes from Ibadan. We will soon launch our Dry Seaport in that particular Economic Zone.
“We also have the one in Yewa through the Ota axis. All these economic zones are to ensure that the cargo produced in Ogun State is conveniently processed, and this will generate job opportunities and enhanced value chains,” he added.
While intimating the minister of efforts to further attract investments to the state, the state governor informed his guest that his administration would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with its partner to commence the construction of the Deep Seaport at Olokola to complete the circle of economic zones in the State.
The governor thanked the minister for the visit, noting that it would cement further the relationship with the government at the centre.
Speaking earlier, Uzoka-Anite applauded the state government for its developmental strides, saying the springing up of industries in the State was a confirmation of the conducive business environment and the availability of necessary infrastructure that attracts investors.
The minister said as the industrial capital, Ogun State has distinguished itself as a pioneer and leader in developing, expanding and attracting industries with ease, adding that the visit would enable her and her team to rob minds with the officials of the state government on how best to be of help to each other.
“The Federal Government will collaborate with the state government to see how to improve and industrialise not only the State but the whole country. We are committed to supporting the state in any way we can. Whatever the governor is doing to continue in the industrialisation, we will support him,” the minister added.