Ajimobi govt paid lip service to setting up Free Trade Zone ― Oyo govt

Director-General, Oyo State Investment and Public-Private Partnership Agency, Mr Segun Ogunwuyi has said the state government was working on reviving the abandoned free trade zone project.

Speaking with journalists, at the weekend, Ogunwuyi bemoaned that the immediate past administration only paid lip service to the establishment of free trade zone on Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

The former Governor Abiola Ajimobi government had in May 2017 flagged off the establishment of Pacesetter-Polaris free trade zone, targeted at being a hub of commerce, but the project didn’t see the light of the day till the administration expired.

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According to Ogunwuyi, Governor Seyi Makinde was sincere about setting up the free trade zone and would work towards its actualisation.

“Previous government paid lip service to free trade zone. We, as a government, are not interested in just talking about something but we are interested in people seeing it on the ground.

“Currently we are working on bringing back free trade zone into life. Free trade zone is the next best thing after crude oil for any state and we are going to see that happen,” Ogunwuyi said.

He said all efforts of the Makinde government, in the next one year, will be geared towards the expansion of the state economy to attract businesses and investments.

To this end, Ogunwuyi added that the state was working to see the actualisation of the Ibadan Inland Dry port in Akinyele local government.

But for COVID-19, Ogunwuyi said the state, in conjunction with the Nigeria Shippers’ Council, would have signed some requisite agreements.

“We are working with shippers council on Ibadan Inland Dry Port. If not for Covid-19, we should have gone into negotiation and we should have some agreement by now.

“The Inland Dry port is meant to be a point of export and import such that when the cargo gets to Apapa, Lagos, it can be moved to Ibadan via the rail in Ibadan and then taken to the hinterland.

“Our mandate is to expand the economy to also let people know that Oyo state is open for business.

“In the next one year I will say the economy will expand at a level that people would love to live and to work in Oyo state,” Ogunwuyi added.

Speaking further, he said the abandoned Agbowo Shopping Complex will soon be conceded to an investor.

He regarded Agbowo shopping complex as one of many other moribund facilities that the state will be concessioning with a view to reviving them.

The revival of such facilities, he noted, will also help boost the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.

It will be recalled that Governor Seyi Makinde had last week handed over the operation of the revived Pacesetter and Quarry Asphalt, Ijaye to Caborncor company.

Among other plans to have a robust economy, Ogunwuyi disclosed that Makinde will soon roll out a microfinance scheme to support Micro and Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.

This is as he said the state continued to enter public/private partnerships on letting out housing units and estates.

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