Why Enugu Free Trade Zone is yet to commence

Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

More than two years after the Federal Government issued Enugu with a licence formally declaring two areas in the state as free trade zones, activities are yet to commence at the locations slated for the multi-million naira projects.

President Buhari had in December 2015 officially issued Enugu with a licence approving the Empower Free Trade Zones (EMPOWER FTZ) at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and the Ninth Mile Corner in Udi.

Armed with the approval, the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had performed the foundation laying ceremony for the commencement of the project in 2016. However, investigations by The Guardian showed that no activity has commenced on any of the sites since then. Bushes meanwhile are taking over the sites.

During the inauguration, government had said that after completion, the free trade zone would attract over $500m (about N240bn) worth of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from leading global manufacturing companies.

Besides, the activities of the industrial clusters hosted in the zone were expected to create over 30,000 jobs.But Mr. Emeka Eneh, who is leading a consortium of companies, said the project has not been abandoned.He told The Guardian that 50 multinational companies in the country and elsewhere have applied to the Federal Government for approval to begin construction in the area.

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