& Akpokona Omafuaire
27 November 2011, Sweetcrude, WARRI- OFFICIALS of the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority, NEPZA, visited Warri at the weekend to inspect the site and facility on ground for the multi-billion dollars Warri Industrial Business Park, WIBP, designed to turn around the economy of Delta State and the Niger-Delta region.
Senior Manager, Zones Technical Services, Mrs. Pwash Eldon, who led the NEPZA delegation to Warri, after the inspection, said from what was seen on ground the state was on the threshold of an economic revolution if the state government has the political will to execute the project as planned.
“Our mission here is to assess the facility that is going to be used for the industrial park, we are here to see what they have on ground – whether it agrees with the report that was sent to us. From what we see on ground, it agrees with the report, it is a laudable project”
“But our concern is whether the government has the political will to drive this project, even though what they need to drive the project is there and when completed, it will develop the status of the state and the economy also and the country at large,” she added.
Director of the WIBP project, Mrs. Helen Emore , who took them on the inspection tour disclosed that the project would start at the first quarter of 2012 and that it will take between 5 to 10 years to complete.
She assured Deltans that the governor’s successor would not ignore the benefits of the project and, therefore, the completion was guaranteed.
Mrs. Emore said that investors from different countries and diverse sectors would come and that will bring about competitive bidding that will make people to get the best value for their money and create jobs, provide business and training opportunities for people in the Niger Delta region, especially the beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme, who did not have job placement and that it will change Delta State as a whole.
Since the project is a huge one, she said the state government was seeking the assistance of multilateral financial institutions and private partners, adding, it was because of the design, feasibility study and the survey work already done that made government to apply for a license for a free trade zone, which had brought about the inspection.
‘’The Warri Industrial Business Park has developed the means, views, work, play and learning industrial facilities. It occupies 329 hectares of land and it is going to be executed in collaboration with the Delta state government and Acol Perochemical.
‘’We have appled for a license for a free trade Zone and you know in a free economic zone, there are lots of benefits to the operators and therefore having Warri as a free zone, makes it a very attractive and viable place.’’