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FG delay in approving Abia’s Enyimba Industrial City frustrating investors
Endless wait for Federal Government’s approval for its multibillion naira Enyimba Industrial City, in Aba, the commercial and industrial nerve centre of South East is getting out of hand.
The proposal, Business Hilights leant, was sent for approval since last year, but up till now, no official reply had been got by the promoters and Abia State government.
However, according to the Project Consultant, Chief Darl Uzu, arrangements are in top gear to get the President’s approval for an Export Processing Zone licence for the project.
While hinting that there might be delays in realizing the project because of its nature which would take a long time to achieve, he decried the cold feet of the federal government in granting approval for the project takeoff.
Long before now, the promoters had submitted a Free-Trade Zone application to Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) which had been processed and passed to the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment for approval.
Chief Uzu who noted that the scheme will be a game changer in the state’s industrial architecture, averred that “We are going on to follow-up on that because he has to make a recommendation to the President who would take the project to the Federal Executive Council for approval”.
“Every other thing is coming up. Aside the infrastructure, we are putting all things together. The likes of Dubai have joined us and Group Five of South Africa and AFC have come out to show interest.
“World Bank also has a stake but what happens with World Bank is that you have to get the private sector just like a guarantor. Anything you are doing has to be bankable for World Bank to come in.
“But we have been engaging them. We have had a meeting with them in Abuja here and we have also had a meeting with them in Washington DC in November 2017,” he said.
He said the observed delays in securing the needed approval forced a shift in the planned commencement of work at the site.
Abia Government had earlier said in December 2017 that work on the project was billed to start in January 2018.
The consultant noted that although the project involved a Singaporean Urban, Industrial and Infrastructure firm (Surbana Jurong), they would work with local town planners and a number of investors to deliver world class industrial city.
Already, the design for the city will be finalized very soon in Singapore.
Even though the Federal Government had approved N5 billion to support the Enyimba Industrial City project in the 2018 budget, the delay in giving the needed approval for commencement of construction activities is becoming worrisome.
The Enyimba Industrial City spans through Ugwunagbo, Ukwa East and Ukwa West areas and is likely to connect South-South and South-East states.