Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has described SKYRUN Enterprises in the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) as one of the success-stories of the Free Zone innovation, pointing out that its industrial drive would check the alarming rate of young Nigerians traveling to Europe and America in search of better opportunities.
Obasanjo, who spoke at the formal commissioning of SKYRUN Ultra-Modern Deep Freezer/Refrigerator Factory at the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) on December 11, 2017, expressed confidence in the capacity of the factory to add value to the economy, saying “it will boost economy, create massive employment, and develop the nation.”
He added: “With SKYRUN, our children who are going to make graves for themselves in the Mediterranean, and those sold as slaves in Libya will no longer do that, for there will be an enabling environment for everyone.”
On the growing population of Nigeria, which many political economists are terming a time-bomb, the elder statesman called on the country’s leaders to formulate policies that would aim at pulling the generality of people out of absolute poverty and rebuilding the middle class in the next 30-40 years.
Speaking further, the ex-president said: “To make the increasing population an asset, we have to provide food, education, employment and accommodation for the people in 30-40 years to come. Factories like SKYRUN are all we need to build the middle class, meet their standard of living”.
“SKYRUN will serve a greater purpose if we make the increasing population our priority. And with good leadership from the community to the local, state and federal government, our country will flow with milk and honey.
“In the past, we were talking of speedy economy, but now we are talking about quality, and with speed and quality put together, Nigeria will be the largest and biggest country in Africa in terms of economy, growth, and development.”
The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, who accompanied Obasanjo to the commissioning, thanked SKYRUN International Group for investing its multi-billion Naira factory, with its huge potential for job creation and economic empowerment.
Hear him:“With the establishment of the SKYRUN Ultra-Modern Deep Freezer/ Fridge Factory in Calabar, it has been able to employ Cross Riverians, put food on the table of the people and improve the standard of their living.
Represented by the State for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Peter Egba, Ayade, popularly called the “Digital Governor,” averred that industrialization was the way to go, especially with decreasing oil revenues coupled with unstable or unpredictable market forces.
He disclosed that having realized this, the state has opted for full industrialisation, and called for a buy-in by other state governments as well as the Federal Government.
His words: “Nigeria should follow Cross River State and venture into massive industrialization, as it is the only solution to revive the country’s economy. Other states should do the same too. For that purpose, the state has put on the table, a one-industry-per-local-government-area policy, one that would develop the state in the nearest future.”
Earlier in his welcome speech, the Chairman of the Group, High Chief Xie Shao, said since its establishment in 2005, the company has continued to grow “from strength to strength, bringing technology to the doorsteps of Nigerians and doing so at very affordable rates.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, the National Coordinator/CEO, Nigeria-China Business Council (NCBC), Chief Matthew Uwaekwe, said the council was proud to be associated with SKYRUN given that it assembles electronics as well as produces refrigerators, standing fans, washing machines, microwaves, prepaid meters, transformers, TVs. The company produces for NTA; Star Times Digital TV etc.”
Alluding to SKYRUN’s quest for financial support, Uwaekwe said it was needful for the Federal Government to help the firm to access the $50million it needs to ship critical equipment into the country.
Other dignitaries at the occasion were: the Grand Patriarch of the Oqua Nation/Paramount Ruler of Calabar Municipality, HRM Ndidem Dr. Patrick Inok Oquagbor(V); ex-Governor Liyel Imoke; State Head of Service, Barr. Ekpenyong Henshaw; the Managing Director of NEPZA (ably represented by the Head of the Calabar Zone, Engr. O. G. Ekpe); as well as the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Asu Okang and his counterpart in the Agric/Natural Resources Ministry, Prof. Anthony Eneji.