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The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Ekiti State Government have agreed on partnering to position the Ekiti Knowledge Free Trade Zone as the most attractive virtual and blockchain hub in Africa.

The agreement was reached on sideline of the 63rd NACCIMA’s Annual General Meeting held June 7th and June 8th in Ado-Ekiti.

The event had opened with Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA accompanied by Chief John Udeagbala, NACCIMA’s outgone National President, his successor, Mr Dele Oye and scores of investors to officially deliver the Ekiti Knowledge Free Zone’s Presidential Approval to Gov. Abiodun Oyebanji.

While presenting the letter, the NEPZA boss said the approval was an offshoot of the state government’s aggressive pursuit for economic transformation.

The NEPZA chief executive also explained that it was amazing how the state was able to meet up with the Authority’s guidelines within a short period.

He further said that the development only showed the advanced knowledge of the state government on the potency of the free trade zone scheme to unlock the economic potentials of the state.

“I have deliberately waited in delivering this approval so that the three parties could leverage on the presence of hundreds of investors attending this special NACCIMA AGM to position the new zone for exploitation and make it the most attractive knowledge, virtual and blockchain hub in Africa.

“I am particularly delighted that His Excellency, Gov. Abiodun Oyebanji, is as receptive as his predecessor, Dr Kayode Fayemi who laid the foundation of what we are celebrating today,’’ Adesugba said.

On his part, Udeagbala, who aligned with the NEPZA chief’s position, described Adesugba as a truly renowned International Investment Promoter.

Udeagbala said also that the NACCIMA Council was prepared for any partnership aimed at industrializing the country, adding that the Ekiti Knowledge Free Zone was a viable project both local and international investors would be interested in exploring.

“The importance of the Public Private Partnership policy cannot be overemphasized and this has also informed our theme for this annual meeting. We are glad to be part of this,’’ Udeagbala said.

Gov. Oyebanji expressed his delight and paid tributes to both the former governor, Fayemi and former Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo on their various roles that birthed the state’s free zone.

Oyebanji said that the Presidential approval for the zone was an excellent omen that ran in tandem with his vision for the state to reduce the over-dependency on the monthly Federal Allocations.

“We must begin to run our race ourselves and we want this partnership to be the starting point for the industrialization of the state,’’ the governor said.