Owaza (Abia), Oct. 1, 2023: Governor Alex Otti of Abia on Saturday performed the ground breaking of the state’s Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP) in Owaza, Ukwa west Local Government Area(LGA).
Speaking during the ceremony, Otti said that the project marked the begining of an industrial revolution in Abia, as it would be used to unlock the economic potentials of Ukwa and the state at large.
The governor said that project would leverage on the areas where Abia had comparative advantage in, which includes oil and gas, proximity to Aba and Port Harcourt cities, abundance of skilled labour and a secure environment.
Otti commended the host communities for giving their land in support of the project, adding that government would keep to its part of the bargain and ensure that they reap the fruit of their labour.
He said that the government would responsibly harness the abundant oil and gas reserves in Ukwa for the economic development of the state and the regions connected to the project location.
He appealed to investors to maximise the opportunities that abound in the project and added that government would provide an enabling environment, steady power supply, nearness to raw materials, as well as a skilled and unskilled labour.
“My honest assurance to everyone is that the Abia State government shall keep to its part of the bargain and you shall get what you truly deserve.
“We shall also work with experts and industry regulators to set up clear guidelines that will drastically minimise the damages to your natural environment.
“Above all, we will see to it that every corporate entity that shall have a presence here takes its corporate social responsibility very seriously,” Otti said.
In an address, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Benjamin Kalu, said that the project marks the beginning of a transformative journey aimed at achieving sustainable economic growth in Abia.
Kalu said that his commitment to supporting the state’s economic growth efforts and creation of a state that all its citizens would be proud of remains unwavering regardless of his political affiliations.
“We understand that critical role of legislative framework in the success of initiatives such as the AIIP and our agenda is centered around creating an environment that encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable development,” he said.
In a remark, Mr Simbi Wambote, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Local Content Development and Monitoring Board, said that manufacturing remains the only way to reposition the economy.
“This project is well thought out and this will give Abia its rightful position as a manufacturing hub.
“We will work with you ‘hand in glove’ to share our knowledge and experience with you to ensure that it is a success,” Wambote said.
Also, a senior official of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr Morgan Umahi, commended the state government for its efforts to establish an industrial hub.
“We will provide enabling environment from the side of FG through providing tax and custom duty incentives for the companies that will come to establish facilities in the park,” Umahi added.
The Commissioner for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Prof. Joel Ogbonna, said that the park would provide limitless investment opportunities that would impact all sectors of the state’s economy.
Ogbonna said that the park would be sited on a 1,000 hectares of land and would house a modular refinery, an agro-processing hub, manufacturing facility, an automobile assembly plant, among others.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of AIIP, Mr Chinedu Onyeizu, said that the park would serve as a strategic business environment that would lay a solid foundation for a renewed Abia.
Onyeizu added that the park would accelerate economic development of the Abia in line with the policy thrust of the government to promote creation of generational wealth and massive industrial advancement.