By Tai Emeka Obasi
The Federal Government, ever interested in seeing the Nnewi Automotive Industrial Park become functional as soon as possible, has promised mouth-watering incentives to both local and international investors interested in being part of the landmark project. This was made known to the appreciative audience by the Director General of Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA during the round-table conference held at the Conv-Aj Event Centre in Nnewi on May 11, 2018.
The Hon Chris Azubogu-initiated project, which is at an advanced but critical stage of accomplishment, has attracted keen interests from both local and international investors, professionals and politicians. The legislator representing Ekwusigo/Nnewi North/Nnewi South Federal Constituency in the Green Chamber had informed the selected audience that over 70 capable local investors are already angling for full participation once the stage to do so is advanced.
Those investors must have been pleased to hear the DG Emmanuel Jime, say affirmatively that at this stage of the project that a legal framework will be prepared by NEPZA, which would outlay a clear cut operational policy.
‘’Having procured land free of all encumbrances for the project, the automotive industry must have infrastructures like 24/7 power availability, a raw material base, which is mainly steel – resuscitating our steel industry is very paramount, portable water, access roads and skilled workforce. NEPZA understands that the state and federal governments are already working in collaboration to provide these infrastructures within the actualization time frame.
‘’However, the major incentives to would-be investors are already mapped out by NEPZA. The authority will incorporate the Nnewi Automotive Industrial Park into one of the country’s industrial free zones, thus allowing investors to benefit from the numerous incentives such zones enjoy. These incentives include: Low-interest easy access to loans at very liberal conditions; Duty-free importation of raw materials; Duty-free exportation of finished products; Exemption from all forms of local government, state and federal taxes, levies for a reasonable time within operation.
‘’It is also the responsibility of NEPZA to involve other agencies of government like SON, NAFDAC, etc and of course present the legal document through the Federal Ministry Of Trade And Investment to the president for final approval. But be rest assured, Mr. President is very passionate about this project and won’t waste time to endorse our package,’’ Mr. Jime informed.
He equally congratulated Hon Azubogu for his foresight and passion towards the dream and actualization of the project and further advised that aggressive marketing is needed from Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, NIPRO in order to attract the right investors as the automotive industry is a very competitive market.
The event which attracted many foreign partners from United Nations Industrial Development, Organisation, Mehindra from India that produced the Project’s plan and others from Holland, Japan, etc also witnessed the strong representation of the state government. The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu led commissioners of Budget & Planning and Trade & Commerce in persons of Hon Mark Okoye and Christian Madubuko respectively. The traditional rulers of all the fifteen communities within the constituency were all present and of course those of the three communities of Akwa Ihedi, Unubi and Uga that provided the 80 hectares of land for the gigantic project.