By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) has disclosed its plans to support infrastructural development in Ogun State with $200million.
The fund, according to the bank, will be dedicated towards projects and other developmental initiatives embarked upon by the incumbent administration in the state.
The President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afrexim Bank, Benedict Oramah, who made this known when he led management of the bank on a courtesy visit to Governor Dapo Abiodun at his Oke-Mosan Office, Abeokuta, on Monday, equally said the bank would partner Ogun in ensuring that the 250-bed Specialist Hospital, Abeokuta, is completed and begins operations soon.
Oramah, while noting that the bank has been investing heavily in the health sector in Africa to develop vaccines and other drugs, declared that Afrexim Bank is also ready to collaborate with the state-owned Gateway Pharmaceuticals in similar direction.
“We are willing to dedicate an envelope of $200million for projects and initiatives here in Ogun State;. We will also be happy to see the hospital project. We will be very pleased to look at this asset and see how we can partner with your government.
“I assure you that we will consider the Gateway Pharmaceuticals in our plans to invest in the health sector,” he hinted.
The Afrexim Bank President who added that the bank would be working with the state government in its quest to make its road infrastructure more accessible for investors, also said that the bank would be interested in the Cargo Airport being built by the state.
“On the highways we are also developing, there is a connectivity we are looking for in terms of how we connect Nigeria to the Benin Republic and others, connecting Ogun to Lagos and of course to the border.
“It is something that is of interest to us, if there is any road that goes from here to the border, connecting where you stopped, that will be interesting, we can work with you.
“The airport is also hetoropolis, it is something of importance because we even have a project there called The Quality Assurance Testing Inspection Center. This will be critical for implementing this airport,. We can assure that it is something we would be interested in developing with you.
“We are willing under the $200million envelope that I mentioned, to provide technical assistance which can be grants. We will look at how we can support to help you develop some ideas, by providing advisory services.
“We can also use our Project Preparation Facility to help prepare projects. For example, this hospital we are talking about, we can use this facility to develop it,” Oramah stated.
Earlier in his remarks, Governor Abiodun noted that the Quality Assurance Testing Center would complement the International Cargo Airport, adding that his administration would continue to do all it can to make Ogun the destination of choice for investors.
Abiodun said that his administration had in the last few months embarked on the construction of roads across the state, especially the Ijebu-Ode-Epe, Agbara-Lusada-Atan Roads, which according to him, are capital intensive, expressing his administration’s readiness to receive support from the bank.
“We have built one and we are building another at great a expense to the state. These roads are federal roads and they are also commercial roads. We invite Afrexim Bank to partner with us.
“Agbara-Lusada-Atan Road is the road that used to be called the Lagos-Sokoto Expressway. That road in its present state is very shameful and we have since intervened. We have awarded the contract of that road and it will be delivered in 15 months time at a great expense to the state.
“We will concession and toll these roads on completion in order to be able to recoup the investment. We invite Afrexim Bank to come and look at how to partner with us,” Abiodun said.
The governor, who also called on the bank to support his administration’s quest to build an international Cargo Airport, said the airport when completed would be a hub for the country and the continent of Africa as a whole.
“Our International Cargo Airport that we are building is our Special Agro Processing Zone. Construction has started. It is our hope that the construction will be completed before the end of next year. We also invite Afrexim Bank to look at how to partner with us because it promises to be a Cargo hub, not just for Nigeria, but for the entire continent.
“We look forward to seeing the Afrexim Bank to create an MSMEs fund that would be targeted at MSMEs and also create clusters that would allow them to access the lands at a reduced pricing with a phased payment plan.
“Such funds would allow the MSMEs to have access to the funding they would need to meet their demands.
“The success of MSMEs is very fundamental to any Industrial revolution. We are an industrial state, so, we have been deliberate with our support for MSMEs to the extent that we are creating clusters for them.
“We are creating these clusters that will allow them to access the lands at a reduced pricing with phased out payment plans so that they can have a land, title documents that they can use in leveraging and starting their enterprises,” the governor highlighted.
Abiodun, however, commended the bank’s support towards the production of vaccines and drugs in the African continent and its readiness to partner Gateway Pharmaceuticals in similar direction.