The Federal Government’s economic diversification programme may have recorded a head-start as investment groups gather for the ground breaking ceremony of the Enpower Free Trade Zone (ENPOWER FTZ) scheduled by the end of this month with a target to attract N240 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and 20,000 jobs.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who consolidates on foundation efforts of former Governor Sullivan Chime on the project, was quoted as saying in a statement at the weekend that the ground breaking ceremony for the facility would bear the first set of investment fruits which will give highly needed momentum to his government’s economic diversification programme.
According to him, “Enpower FTZ has put in substantial efforts into attracting specific, targeted high-profile investors right from the outset. These anchor investors play an important signaling role to other potential investors, and we expect them to attract a network of suppliers and partners.”
The ceremony which holds at the Akanu Ibiam Airport site of the Free Zone is expected to attract up to $500 million (N240 billion) worth of foreign direct investments (FDI) from leading global manufacturing companies.
Activities of the industrial clusters hosted in the free zone are also expected to create over 20,000 jobs across three major regions in the country.
Licensed by the federal government to operate as a free trade zone in December, 2015, ENPOWER FTZ is a Public-Private initiative with the Enugu State government offering international and domestic investors the benefits of connecting to business opportunities from the South-Eastern cluster, which according to Canback & Company and the McKinsey Global Institute, is the second largest economic cluster in Nigeria, outside of the Lagos Cluster.
Governor Ugwuanyi and his government’s private project developers are positioning the free trade zone project as the biggest private sector investment support to the government’s economic recovery efforts.
Enpower is affiliated, as a full voting member; to the Dubai-based World Free Zones Organisation (WorldFZO) and the Africa Free Zones Association (AFZA) respectively. It intends to function as a certified SMART-SUSTAINABLE & SAFE free trade zone.
According to the statement by the investment promoters intend to provide uninterrupted power supply via an embedded power arrangements, certify the free zone’s infrastructure and operations to globally accepted standards, operate the free trade zone as a one-stop investment destination by integrating all free zone operations with the documentation and cargo handling, customs, immigration administration processes to achieve an Ease of Doing Business rating equivalent to that of Dubai.
Besides, the ENPOWER FTZ is to host Africa’s first ever Nigeria-China “Dragon Market”, the second such manufacturing and wholesale centre, after the famous Dubai Dragon Market. Dragon Mart Dubai is the largest trading hub for Chinese products outside mainland China. The industrial park also gives access to markets covered by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); South East Asian countries including China, India and Malaysia; the European Union including Czech Republic and Germany; and the untapped industrial heartland of South-Eastern Nigeria especially the commercial cities of Onitsha, Nnewi and Aba.
ENPOWER Free Zone is designed to accommodate up to 500 companies located in two Free Zone Areas at The Ninth Mile industrial area and the Akanu Ibiam international Airport.
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