Abia targets $5 billion foreign investment by 2023, to create 100,000 jobs by 2020 – Board
By Steve Oko
The Chairman , Abia State Public Private Partnership Investment Promotion Board, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, has said that the board intends to attract $5 billion foreign investment into the state by 2023.
Ohuabunwa and other board members at the briefing
Ohuabunwa who disclosed this at a press conference in Umuahia also said the board had designed a template for building a sustainable job opportunity capable of creating at least 100,000 new jobs by 2020.
The former Chairman, Nigeria Economic Council, noted that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu set up the board two years ago with the mandate to fashion out ways Abia could become a leading economic state in Nigeria.
He expressed delight that members of the board comprising seasoned technocrats and experts in various fields of life quickly came up with a blue print on how to launch the state on the global economic map.
Ohuabunwa said the board had designed a lot of investment packages that when fully realised would make Abia less dependent on federal allocation.
Adding his voice, the Director General of the Board, Mr Austin Ufomba, said that already a template had been designed with a view to making Abia the best state with ease of doing business by 2019 to boost inventor’s confidence.
He said special attention had been given to the oil & gas sector as well as agriculture, textile and leather works.
According to him the board had conducted a thorough investment research in the state such that any investor will know and maximise the available comparative advantage in any sector or part of the state.
He said that the proposed Enyimba Economic City situated on a 9803 hecters of land that cuts across three Local Government Areas is the brain child of the board and would be developed under Public Private Partnership arrangement.
Ufomba disclosed that government had obtained Free Trade Zone license for the industrial city which will be the highest so far on any Africa soil.
The city, according to him, will house over 15,000 companies and will employ 100,000 workers by 2021 ,with additional 5 million after about seven years.
He further disclosed that the board was already partnering with an international foot wear investor that has a capacity of churning out 30 million shoes per annum in Aba.
The firm which he said is hoped to commence operation by next year would make Aba the highest producer of shoes in Africa.
Asked if the establishment of such gigantic foreign owned firm would not cripple local production, he said it would rather help local producers on the art of putting finishing touches to their products to make them more globally competitive.
” It is not all about trying to protect what is not competitive; when the quality of shoes produced in Aba improves it will reduce import and encourage exports, create more jobs and make our economy stronger “.
He the highest textile firm in China had indicated interest in building the highest textile company in Aba.
Ufomba said that already the company had had already entered into a purchasing power agreement with the Geometric Power Plant Aba to purchase 51% power generated at the plant.
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