LAGOS – The Federal Government says it is irrevocably committed to the repositioning of the economy by boosting productive capacities.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said this on Wednesday at the 10th anniversary of the Ogun -Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Ota ,Ogun.
Represented by Mr Niyi Adebayo ,Minister of Trade and Investment ,Osinbajo said government was particularly committed to boosting the non-oil sector to grow the economy and create jobs for Nigerians .
He described Free Trade Zones(FTZs) as veritable platforms to attract investments and grow economies all over the world.
Osinbajo said the government would continue to support FTZs and other productive entities for the benefit of the people and the country.
”The Buhari administration is driven by an unflinching commitment to reposition our economy and improve production capacities and boost our share in global non -oil trade.
”Our national economic policies are geared towards a Nigeria that is high producing ,export -oriented and productive infrastructure for businesses.
”It is our vision to achieve transformational economic growth by leveraging on our demographics and competitive advantage in agriculture and mineral deposits to provide opportunities for long-term investors,” he said.
The Vice-President described the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone as a success story, saying it had impacted positively on both the economy of the state and the nation.
He explained that with over two billion dollars in investment ,the Free Trade Zone had added value to the economy and had created no fewer than 6000 jobs for the people in its host community .
Osinbajo said the Federal Government would continue to support the FTZ to grow and create more opportunities .
He commended the Ogun government for its support for the FTZ ,urging it to further strengthen partnership with the zone for more successes.
Also speaking, Gov. Dapo Abiodun said the state government was committed to supporting businesses in the state .
The governor, who described the Ogun -Guangdong Free Trade Zone as a catalyst for the socio-economic development of the state, said the government would continue to provide support for the zone.
”We are not unaware of the resultant effect of the FTZ in terms of employment generation, poverty alleviation ,local patronage and product renting which in the long run would put our dear state on the global map of trade and investment.
”It is worth mentioning that the possibilities have grown beyond the FTZ ,it has become a comprehensive development that covers processing of goods and manufacture of a variety of products with the use of local inputs that have boosted the economy of our state, ”he said.
Abiodun, who promised to address some challenges faced by the FTZ , said the state was planning a law to strengthen Private Public Partnership investments in the state.
He commended the FTZ for the projects executed in the host community and urged it to continue to uphold best practices ,standards and competitiveness.
The Chairman ,House Committee on Foreign Relations ,Mr Yusuf Buba, said the success of the FTZ was a testimony to the strong economic relations between Nigeria and China.
He said China and Nigeria were strategic business partners with growing volume of trade and strong government-to-government and parliament -to-parliament relations.
”The Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone is one of those success stories of our partnership and cooperation with the people of China.
”It was established about 10 years ago as an industrial cluster following an agreement between Ogun State government and a few Chinese businesses.
”Now,about 60 companies have signed up to be part of the grand vision to bring home to us what our people travel all the way from China to manufacture or buy.
”All things being equal ,after 10years of operations here through which value has been offered and profits made,we as a nation cannot but learn from the highly entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese to seek to re-enact the success story the OGFTZ has become to enlarge the frontiers of our productive and manufacturing capacities,” he said.
In his speech, the Consul-General, Peoples Republic of China,Mr Chu Maoming, said the FTZ had achieved remarkable achievements since it was established 10 years ago.
He commended the state government and the companies in the zone for living up to its vision.
The consul general described Nigeria and China as strategic partners, adding that the relationship had grown from strength to strength.
”China is a driving force which has contributed 30 per cent to world economic growth since 2013.
”The country still maintains stability despite some challenges and the growing economy has improved living standards.
”The progressive performance of the economy of China has also promoted trade between China and Nigeria.
”In the first half of the year ,the bilateral volume of trade between both countries increased by 20.7 per cent.
”Nigeria continues to be China’s third largest trading partner in Africa and an important investment destination.That is why we see a lot of investors here,” he said.
Prof. Zhu Layi, Group President ,Guangdong New South Group, the promoter of the FTZ,said the Zone had been able to build a dream of improved industrial capacities and jobs in the state.
Represented by Mr Deng Wu,Vice -President of the group,he added that the FTZ had impacted positively on its host community in the last 10 years.
According to him, the FTZ is home to some 63 companies manufacturing ceramics ,tiles, glass and other products.
He restated the commitment of the FTZ to improving the living standards of the people in the area.