Mr Gboyega Isiaka, the Chairman, Ogun Free Trade Zone (Ogun Guangdong) has assured that members of the board would aggressively work to promote initiatives that would enhance the operation of the free trade zone.
Speaking at a press conference after a tour of the zone in Igbesa, Ado Odo Ota local government area of the state, Isiaka listed some of the initiatives to include dry port, parking lot and other possibilities that would promote and enhance the value of the investment.
Flanked by other members of the board, the chairman noted that the board was driven by the vision to make the zone a lot more functional to drive growth , strengthened sanity and ensure the zone pursued its objectives.
He added that the board would ensure fair treatment of all the stakeholders, the host community, the shareholders , the employers and there workers.
“In pursuance of some of these objectives , we are going to affect necessary changes to the structure on ground to reflect the laws of the land and reflect the joint venture agreement signed.
“Starting from practically immediately , we want to create an office that will interface more with the community and with government and government related matters.
“We are going to put in place a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) drafting committee , that committee will have five members from the community and land owners , four members from Ogun Guangdong Free trade zone including the enterprises and two that will be discretionary to strengthen the committee.
“The committee will be inaugurated in the next one week or before the end of the month and before the end of April, the draft MoU will be ready,” he said.
Isiaka also hinted that the board was working towards establishing community social responsibility fund that would be used to pursue social responsibility affairs of the company.
” We also expects that enterprises will be discussed with so that they can partake in this and we are going to start some work on that almost immediately.
The press briefing was to bring up to speed into what is happening at the zone.
“This establishment started sometimes in 2007 when the joint venture agreement was signed , a lot of things have happened since that time , some very good, some very pleasant, some very rough , some very tough but in all of these we thank God for where we are from where we started.
“Over this period, from the record available over 80 establishments have obtained licences and get registered to operate in this Free trade zone , at least 44 of them are very operational , about 17 under construction , 18 others are having one challenge or the other while one has relocated.
“In the last four years , the zone under the present management has witnessed some impressive outings , from available records made available to us , exports of about 4, 200 trucks in 2016 has grown to over 50,000 in 2020 despite the pandemic .
” Employment is in the excess of 6,000 and there has been some efforts made in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
“We discussed with them and we know some of these were achieved amidst some remarkable challenges , there are those that is beyond anyone of us , the pandemic, insecurity challenges we have around us.
” But there are those that are within us , like the land matters , encroachment, controversies surrounding payment of compensation and all that , we have major roads infrastructures challenges , particularly the Agbara – Atan road.
“We have issues of Inter agency rivalry among the likes of Customs, Federal Inland Revenue Service , there are issues of toll collection around here that is making the cost of doing business to be a bit high than the average.
“Within all of these , in November 2019 , the governor of the state nominated myself and Hajia Balewa into the board and the board was reconstituted,” he said.
The OGFTZ board chairman appreciated the efforts of the present management of the zone , saying the board would support them , amend and correct areas needed to be corrected.
Mr Hanson Huang, the General Manager African China Investment Company, commended the new board of OGFTZ for efforts put in place to better the zone.
Huang explained that there were so many developments and achievements recorded so far in the zone.
“We have so many developments and achievements happening in this area, we believe we can get more support for the development of the free trade zone.
” I hope we can work hand in hand with Ogun state government and the community and go further to create a better future for everyone,” he said.