Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the federal government will leverage on the potentials of non-oil sector for economic growth and create jobs nationwide.
The vice president has equally said the federal government is irrevocably committed to repositioning of the economy by boosting productive capacities.
He gave the assurance at the 10th anniversary of the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ) held at Igbesa, Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area (LGA), Ogun State.
Dignitaries including federal and state government officials, Chinese diplomats and entrepreneurs, traditional rulers, leaders of the host community and other stakeholders attended the anniversary.
At the anniversary, Osinbajo noted that the federal government was particularly committed to boosting the non-oil sector to grow the economy and create jobs for Nigerians.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, described the OGFTZ as veritable platforms to attract investments and grow economies all over the world.
With its record in the last decade, the vice president said the federal government would continue to support OGFTZ and other productive entities for the benefit of the people and the country.
He noted that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari “is driven by an unflinching commitment to reposition our economy and improve production capacities and boost our share in global non-oil trade.
‘’Our national economic policies are geared towards a Nigeria that is high producing export -oriented and productive infrastructure for businesses,” the vice president explained.
“It is our vision to achieve transformational economic growth by leveraging on our demographics and competitive advantage in agriculture and mineral deposits to provide opportunities for long-term investors.”
He explained that with over $2 billion in investments, the OGFTZ had added value to the economy and had created no fewer than 6000 jobs for the people of its host community.
He said the federal government would continue to support the FTZ to grow and create more opportunities, thus commending the Ogun State Government for its support for the FTZ and strengthening its partnership with the zone.
China’s Consul General in Nigeria, Mr. Chu Maoming said OGFTZ was a success story as it had recorded remarkable achievements since coming on stream 10 years ago.
He explained that the OGFTZ had not only developed local industries in Ogun State, but also provided job opportunities to people improving living standards.
Maoming described the zone as a creation of the economic and trade cooperation between China and Nigeria, saying its success story reflected beneficial partnership between the two countries .
He said there were great opportunities ahead for Nigeria/China bilateral relations, saying China “is looking forward to a stronger partnership with Nigeria for more successes for both countries.
“Nigeria continues to be China’s third largest trading partner in Africa and the largest engineering market for us. Nigeria is a great investment destination that is why we have seen a lot of investors coming from China.
‘’China and Nigeria have so many similarities. While China is the biggest economy and the most populous country in Asia, Nigeria is the largest economy and the most populous country in Africa.
‘’The two countries face similar challenges and have similar aspirations for development. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971 and strategic partnership in 2005,cooperation between Nigeria and China has seen fast and steady development .
‘’Under the guidance of President Buhari and President XI Jinping, the relationship between Nigeria and China has reached new heights, bringing benefits to the people of both countries.
‘’We look forward to forging a stronger strategic partnership with Nigeria through implementing outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit in Beijing.
‘’The prompt joint adoption of the initiatives will surely inject another impetus into the beneficial cooperation between China and Nigeria. Under President Buhari and President XI Jinping, the relationship between Nigeria and China has reached new heights, bringing benefits to the people of both countries.
He described China as a major driving force, saying the country had contributed an average of 30 per cent to global economic growth since 2013.
Despite slow down in global economic growth, the consul general said the Chinese economy still maintained stability with optimised economic structure and improved living standards.
‘’As we can see, the stable and progressive performance of China’s economy has also promoted trade cooperation between Nigeria and China. In the first quarter, the bilateral trade volume between Nigeria and China increased by 20.7 per cent. This shows trade between the two countries is growing.”
Welcoming the guests to the OGFTZ, President, Guangdong New South Group and promoter of the OGFTZ, Prof. Zhu Layi explained that the zone had been able to build a dream of improved industrial capacities and greater for the people of the state.
Layi, who was represented the Vice President of the group, Mr. Deng yu said the zone had been growing with investors day by day.
In the last decade, the president said: “We have been able to build a dream on the land where we are standing today. It is a dream to boost Nigeria’s industrial capacities. It is a dream to make Nigeria’s industries global. It is a dream to provide greater wealth and value.
He said no fewer than 63 companies manufacturing and other productive areas are currently operating in the zone, employing no fewer than 6,000 people.
He added that the 2.248sq km phase I of the zone project had been completed, noting that the development of the 20sq km phase II would enable the OGFTZ to generate 1,000 jobs every year.
Also at the anniversary, Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun said the state government was committed to supporting businesses in the state, thus describing the OGFTZ as a catalyst for the socio-economic development of the state.
He said the state government “will continue to provide support for the zone. We are not aware of the resultant effect of the FTZ in terms of employment generation, poverty alleviation, local patronage and product renting, which will put the state on the global map of trade and investment in the long run.
‘’It is worth mentioning that the possibilities have grown beyond the FTZ. It has become a comprehensive development that covers processing of goods and manufacture of a variety of products with the use of local inputs that have boosted the economy of our state,” Abiodun said.
Abiodun promised to address some challenges faced by the FTZ, noting that the state was planning a law to strength Private Public Partnership investments in the state.
He commended the management of the FTZ for the projects executed in the host community, urging the FTZ to continue to uphold best practices, standards and competitiveness.
In his remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Buba said the success of the FTZ was a testimony to the strong economic relations between Nigeria and China.
He said China and Nigeria were strategic business partners with growing volume of trade and strong government-to-government and parliament-to-parliament relations.
‘’The Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone is one of those success stories of our partnership and cooperation with the people of China. Established about 10 years ago as an industrial cluster following an agreement between Ogun State government and a few Chinese businesses.”