By John Ikani
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote, has commended Abia State Governor Dr. Alex Otti for the decision of his Administration to establish the Abia Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP), Owaza, in Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State.
In a Goodwill Message at the groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, Engr. Wabote said the Park would spur industrial production and “position Abia State as a competitive player in the global market as it will attract national and international investors which will then contribute significantly to the State and nation’s economy.”
According to him, “A virile manufacturing sector will not only create much-needed employment opportunities, but it will also have a multiplier effect on the economy especially if the right policies and mechanisms are put in place to stimulate both forward and backward integration for the products and materials that will be manufactured.” Such policies and mechanisms should be geared toward reduced production costs.
Citing the local content philosophy of the Federal Government and its emphasis on domestication and domiciliation of high value-adding activities, which have necessitated the establishment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS), the NCDMB boss said, “Based on the realization that high production cost is a major challenge for local manufacturers, we adopted a shared-services strategy where we provide infrastructure such as power supply and utilities such as road network, water, waste treatment, and so on for businesses that will be located on the site.”
Such a strategy, he noted, would “enable manufacturers to focus on their core business of manufacturing rather than adding the role of power generation, road construction, etc.” to their operations.
While assuring the Abia State Government of the preparedness of the NCDMB “to share our experience with you to ensure this Park becomes a success story,” he disclosed that the pilot phases of NOGaPS at Emeyal 1 in Bayelsa State and at Odukpani in Cross River State are “at the final stages of completion, and both will come on stream soon.”
Engr. Wabote implored the people of Abia State to give their full cooperation to the State Governor to make the project a success.
In his own address, Governor Alex Oti said, “Our vision is clear and our goal direct: we want to responsibly harness the abundant oil and gas reserves within Ukwa for the economic development of the communities within the State and the regions connected to this project location.”
He assured the people of the determination of his Administration to actualise that vision while soliciting their support.
The Governor equally expressed the appreciation of the Government to the many distinguished guests who honoured the invitation to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. He wished everyone a safe journey back to their respective destinations.
The AIIP is envisaged to comprise a Technology Innovation Centre, a Modern Vehicle Assembly Plant, a Power Generating Plant, a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Manufacturing Plant, an LPG and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Tank Farm, a Haulage and Warehousing Facility, an Agricultural Storage and Processing Facility, a Mini Seaport, a Five-star Hotel, and a carbon-neutral residential estate.