Foreign investors plan $16bn investment in Delta

Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan05 October 2013, Asaba – The Delta State government has attracted more than 16 billion dollars worth of investment for its export free zone, which is expected to create some 500,000 jobs.

The state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, said in Warri, Delta State that investors from Saudi Arabia and India are ready to invest in petrochemical and fertiliser plants.

Uduaghan also said that the Koko Export Free Zone had been approved by the Federal Government and the issue of approval for Warri Export Free Zone was still being pursued.

He said that it was the nature of Koko as an export free zone that attracted the investors since the Federal Government/NNPC Master plan approved three states, namely, Rivers State, Delta State and Akwa Ibom State for such projects.

The governor said that the location of the state and the approval of Koko as an Export Free Zone helped it in securing the approval. Uduaghan further said, “Every investor is very much interested in the tax regime and there are some tax relief for companies in the export free zones.”

The governor said that the Delta State government has done much in Koko by ensuring the approval of its status as an export free zone, ensuring peace and following closely the gas master plan.

He said that already, the state government has prepared grounds for the free zone by putting in place the Asaba Airport, which would assist investors to fly their equipment into the state.

Uduaghan said that Asaba-Ughelli dual carriage way project is being implemented to offer easy and fast transportation from Asaba Airport to the Koko Export Free Zone.

He said that the strategic location of Koko also would assist cargo shipping through the Benin River. Uduaghan said that the Federal Government would tackle the dredging of the Benin River to allow bigger vessels to get to Koko, adding, “‘transport infrastructure is very critical”.

On provision of constant power supply, he said that the state’s Independent Power Plant, IPP, project was progressing as the turbines were presently on test-run.The governor, however, said that the important aspect of the investment was the creation of direct and indirect jobs that would bring down the unemployment rate in the state.

Uduaghan, who described the petrochemical and fertiliser plants as one of the heaviest investments in the country, said that the plants would prop up other large and medium-scale industries in the state.“‘With the cooperation of everyone, the future is very bright,” he said

The governor, however, said that fund was the major challenge facing the state and that this would make the state government to embark on vigorous, aggressive revenue drive in the state.

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