Infrastructure, endowments make Ogun foreign investors’ destination – Abiodun

“We want people to know about our Special Economic Processing Zone; to come and establish processing concerns and factories in the zone”

By Nudoiba Ojen

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has said that the infrastructures in the state and as well its endowments cum deliberate business-friendly policies make the state a destination for investors particularly foreign.

Abiodun called on foreign businesses to make the state, especially the Special Economic Processing Zone, the destination of choice while considering investing in Nigeria.

The governor, while speaking as guest on CNBC Africa at the weekend on the sidelines of the Intra-African Trade Fair put together by Afreximbank in Cairo, Egypt, said Ogun State had put everything in place to host any business venture.

He said Ogun State has the required infrastructure, including accessibility, access to power and a youthful and educated population to make it investor-friendly.

The governor, who said that he was in Cairo to attract foreign investors to the state, said, “We pride ourselves as having the required infrastructure, be it road, rail, or air. We have a new airport, unarguably one of the best airports in Nigeria. Our airport is situated in our Special Economic Processing Zone. The zone is supported by Afreximbank and operated and constructed by a private sector player, Arise LLP.

“Today, we want people to know about the zone, to come and establish processing concerns and factories in that zone, referencing the 5,000 other industrial activities that exist in Ogun State.

“We are trying to attract investors to this processing zone, more so because we have gas, which allows them to access power. So, you are sure that your major cost of production, which could be power in most instances, is already mitigated.

“And I believe that we’ve managed to convince a lot of our listeners that Ogun State, the industrial capital of Nigeria, the education capital of Nigeria with reserve of youthful population, is ready to receive you. And as a government, we’ve provided a lot of reforms and policy initiatives to further increase our rating on the ease of doing business index.

“We like to refer to ourselves as the Gateway State. We are the gateway to Nigeria’s prosperity. We are the industrial capital of Nigeria. By all accounts, we have well over 5,000 industries. We are the number one in non-oil revenue in Nigeria because we have large mineral deposits, particularly limestone”.

“That explains why we have Lafarge, Dangote, and many other cement factories. The biggest cement factory in Nigeria is in Ogun State”, the governor said as he listed some of the companies in the state to include Lafarge, Nestle, Cadbury, May & Baker, Unilever, and Olam flours.

He noted that companies coming to invest in the state would take advantage of its vast agro produce like rubber, cassava, palm oil, cashew, cocoa, cotton, eggs and poultry.

The governor also also spoke on the significance of the African Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC), which has been established at the Special Economic Processing Zone, a development that he said, would make Nigeria get value for her agro-produce and as well stop the idea of sending agro-produce meant for export to neighbouring countries like Ghana to be certified as fit-for-purpose.

Abiodun said, “In AQAC, they don’t wait until you have grown or you have harvested. They intervene from the point of your inputs, from the point of how you have planted, from what type of fertilisers you have used, from what type of fertilisers you were meant to use to ensure that by the time they are stamping your agro-produce, it is certified fit-for-purpose.

“Hitherto, when goods will have to go to Ghana or any other country to be exported, it means that those agro-produce would probably have been undervalued. So, from now on, Nigeria can now export its agro-produce at the right value because its stamped fit-for-purpose from Nigeria,” he added.

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