By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A $2 billion (about N636 billion) investment deal has been completed between a Chinese conglomerate, China Polaris, and the Oyo State government.
The deal, Business Post learnt, is for the establishment of a free trade zone for the manufacturing of automotive products, solar power generation, among others.
Governor of the state, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, disclosed on Tuesday during the turning of the sod to herald the construction work for the project, tagged Polaris-Pacesetter Free Trade Zone, located along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan, expressed optimism that the project, which occupies a thousand hectares of land, would be ‘the new hub of African economy’ when completed.
He further disclosed that the first phase of the project comprising five factories is estimated to cost about N159 billion ($500 million) and is expected to be completed before the end of the first quarter of next year, while the entire project is expected to be completed in the next two years.
Mr Ajimobi described the event as the outcome of a journey of five years of intensive hunt for investors in core economic activities in his determination to achieve growth and sustained development in the state.
“During the period, I was in China for two weeks to seal the agreement, which culminated in the ceremony we are having here today (Tuesday).
“I’m happy to announce to the people of Oyo State that today berths the result of a five-year intensive hunt for genuine investors to come and partner us in the state.
“Polaris-Pacesetter Free Trade Zone is an industrial revolution with the total package of $2 billion investment aimed at pushing the state to the top notch, not only in Nigeria but in Africa.
“The multiplier effect of today’s ceremony is the imminent massive job creation and financial freedom for the government and the good people of our dear state,” he said.
However, Mr Ajimobi appealed to the Chinese investors to fast-track construction works at the trade zone, with the target of completing the first phase in the next three months.
Describing China as the fastest growing economy in the world, the Governor said that the industrial template to be propelled by the Polaris-Pacesetter Free Trade Zone would enhance agricultural, commercial, educational and infrastructural development in the state.
He was upbeat that the project would be a source of envy to states that border Oyo when completed.
The Governor said that the time had come for the state to add value to agriculture by ending the regime of wastages besetting the sector and the state’s natural resources.
President of China Polaris, Mr Zhang Wendong, and the leader of delegation, who is the representative of the Chinese government, Ms Zhang Xuemei, were among the top Chinese officials on the train.
Mr Wendong assured the state government of the investors’ irrevocable commitment to the Polaris-Pacesetter Free Trade Zone project, saying that the first phase of the project, which comprised of five factories, would gulp about N159 billion ($500 million).
He hinted that the conglomerate would ensure the completion of the last phase of the project within the next two years timeline that was proposed by the state government, which, he said, would include an assemblage of automotive products and production of solar energy to power.
He said, “Polaris-Pacesetter Free Trade Zone will encompass light, medium and heavy manufacturing lines of $2 billion. The first phase will cost $500 million, which will involve production and assemblage of vehicle parts and solar energy.
“We are targeting solar energy that will power the whole of Ibadan and its environs. This is the first of its kind in Africa and it will be replicated in other African countries.”
Ellah Lakes, Enugu Government Seal Rice Processing Deal
By Dipo Olowookere
A Nigerian agribusiness company, Ellah Lakes Plc, has sealed an agreement with the Enugu State government for the processing of rice aimed to improve food security in the state and the nation at large.
The chief executive of the firm, Mr Chuka Mordi, described the deal as “a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base.”
Ellah Lakes said in a statement that with the partnership, it will transform the Ada Rice Company and Plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State.
This is expected to create not less than 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months as the company will have the opportunity to establish a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.
Business Post reports that Adani community is well-known for the cultivation and production of rice but due to poor infrastructure and support of the government, it has suffered low patronage.
This partnership between the Enugu State government and Ellah Lakes should change the narrative for good and boost local production of rice.
In the statement issued on Wednesday by Ellah Lakes, a company listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, work is scheduled to begin immediately in Adani.
“Ellah Lakes is happy to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Enugu State Government, through the Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, for the expansion and further development of the Ada Rice Company and plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State, Nigeria.
“Ellah Lakes will produce and process rice with the participation of over 200 indigenous farmers in the local out-grower program. Ellah Lakes will also develop a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.
“The development is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months, and work is scheduled to begin immediately,” a part of the statement disclosed.
“This is a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base, and we are very excited to be working with the Enugu State Government.
“We are very pleased with this collaboration with the very progressive government of Enugu State. For us, this is the beginning of a great journey to expand the industrial base of the state, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture,” Mr Mordi was quoted as saying.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Rewards Customers
Ahead of the festive season, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Nigeria’s largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), has unveiled the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Loyalty Program tagged Umatter.
It is a reward scheme targeted at the customers of the PFA, to reward them for their loyalty and patronage through exclusive discounts as they shop with their e-loyalty card.
The loyalty program is available at the PFA’s partner merchants’ locations and stores across the nation. It is aimed at providing Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ customers with exciting shopping discounts to help them spend less and save more when they shop.
Some of the participating merchant outlets are Maybrands, Café Royale, Hubmart Stores, Chocolate Royal, La Campagne Tropicana, Physio Centers of Africa, Medplus, iStore, Oriki, Launderland and Active Leisure. The discounts range from 5 to 12 per cent on products and services purchased.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ partnerships with these major outlets will enable customers to seamlessly enjoy instant discounts on their purchases during this festive period, thereby making life even more easy and affordable for customers who use the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers e-loyalty card.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers will continue to initiate valuable programs like this that encourage people to continue saving for their retirement and building their financial future.
New and existing customers can be a part of this exciting loyalty program by visiting www.stanbicibtcpension.com or calling 01 271 6000.
FG to Inject N381trn into Economy to Create Job, Tackle Poverty
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to inject N381 trillion into the economy to cushion the growing rate of poverty, job losses and economic degradation in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, during a media interaction with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos.
Mr Ari said the federal government came up with a 5-year National Development Plan tied around the sum of money to be able to achieve this aim.
He said the plan will replace the initial Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP).
According to him: “The plan, which projects the creation of 21 million jobs, with 35 million Nigerians lifted out of poverty, affordable housing for Nigerians and an export-led economy among others, is expected to cost N381 trillion to implement and have six focal areas of economic growth and development, infrastructure, public administration, human capital development, social development and regional development.
“As the leading human capital development institution in Nigeria, we have commenced the process of repositioning our programmes and activities to effectively prepare the Nation’s workforce in line with our mandate of developing a pool of qualified Nigerians to man the public and private sectors of the national economy as we believe that for this plan to succeed, all Nigerians as individual citizens and as institutions must contribute their bit.
“You will recall that on the assumption of office in 2016, the economy was in recession leading to massive job losses and corresponding increases in poverty.
“Our initiatives then particularly the emphasis on skills intervention programmes was borne out of the need to drive the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), which we achieved to an appreciable degree by training hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or even employers of labour,” Mr Ari said.
He, however, lauded the media for a robust coverage of the Funds activities over the years, saying that the media has been critical in return of peace in the state.
“Beyond this, fora such as we are holding today have been critical to the return of peace in plateau state, thereby creating the necessary environment for our organisation to thrive especially within the last five years on account of your professionalism and determined efforts to rise above sensationalism, headline-grabbing and petty politics,” Mr Ari said.
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