Obiano begins $2b airport city project

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By Peter Okolie/Awka

Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra  State has inaugurated an airport city project worth over $2billion  at Ifite-Umueri in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state.

Inaugurating the project on Tuesday, Obiano said it was an important step in expanding the frontiers of excellence in the state.

He disclosed that the project is a public private partnership investment by the state government, Orient Petroleum Resources Limited and Sinoking Enterprises Investments Ltd. of China.

“It would accommodate an airport with two runways, an aviation fuel dump, an airport hotel, an industrial business park, an international convention centre as well as a facility for aircraft maintenance.

“The project sits on 1,500 hectares of land with enough elbowroom for expansion from Ivite-Umueri to neighbouring communities such as Nando, Umunya, Otuocha, Aguleri, Nteje, Nsugbe and beyond.

“It was facilitated by Elite International Investment Holdings Ltd.,” the governor disclosed.

According to him, under the contractual agreement, Sinoking Enterprises Investment Ltd will contribute 75 per cent of the total cost, Orient Petroleum Resources Ltd will contribute 20 per cent while the state government will contribute 5 per cent.

He said the host community of Umueri would be entitled to 3 per cent of the profit from the project in perpetuity as a part of the standard corporate social responsibility.

“Indeed, the economic benefits of the Umueri Airport City Project are enormous.

“It is expected to generate 1,200 direct and 3600 indirect jobs and we expect the people of the state to grab 70 per cent of the jobs in continuation of our efforts to create wealth and prosperity for our people.

“It will also provide an opportunity for training and skills transfer to our people,” the governor stressed.

Obiano expressed optimism that the project would ease business and wipe out the difficulties businessmen and women in the area often encounter in exporting and importing goods and services.

He said the project and the subsequent plan for a light rail project, would place the state in the rightful place as a major commercial and industrial hub in the West African sub-region.

The governor stressed that his administration was intensely focused on building projects that would give immense economic values.

He said his administration had attracted investments valued over 7.2 billion dollars and had placed the state on the agricultural map of the world through the exportation of farm produce.

Mrs Huang Zhi Hni, Chairman, Sinoking Investments Ltd., China, expressed delight to be part of the project which according to her, will transform the country and the state economically.

Hni, who assured that the project would strengthen the bilateral relations between the country and China, would be completed within the time frame of completion.

The President-General of Umueri, Mr Pius Okonkwo, while commending the decision to site the project in the area, assured the governor of the people’s cooperation to realise its success.

In their separate speeches, the Chairman, Orient Petroleum Resources, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Igwe Cyril Enweze, Chairman, Anambra Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) stressed the importance of the project.

Anyaoku, who said the project represented a historic event in the South-East, noted that it would boost the entrepreneurship spirit of the people of the zone.

He commended Obiano’s determination to create environment conducive for businesses to thrive, stressing that it had opened economic possibilities in the state.

On his part, Enweze said the project would improve the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and encourage healthy economic competitiveness in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the occasion attracted stakeholders from different walks of life, including traditional and community leaders, political leaders and business moguls