The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), a pan-African multilateral trade finance institution, has revealed its plans to support Ogun State, South-west Nigeria, with infrastructural facilities worth $200 million to complete its hospital project, initiate vaccine production, among other developmental initiatives in the state.
This is according to a statement issued by the chief press secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Kunle Somonrin, a copy of which was made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.
Mr Somonrin said the president and chairman of the board of directors of the financial institution, Benedict Oramah, made the disclosure when he led his team on a courtesy visit to the governor in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Monday.
The statement quoted Mr Oramah as saying that the bank would partner the state in ensuring that the 250-bed specialist hospital, in Abeokuta, is completed and begins operations soon.
He added that the bank also pledged its readiness to collaborate with the state-owned Gateway Pharmaceuticals to develop vaccines and other drugs as it has invested largely in Africa’s health sector.
“We are willing to dedicate an envelope of $200 million 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 Gateway Pharmaceuticals in our plans to invest in the health sector,” Mr Oramah was quoted to have said.
Mr Oramah added that the bank would be working with the state government in its quest to make its road infrastructure more accessible for investors.
He also said that the bank would be interested in the Cargo Airport being built by the state.
The statement further added; “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 heteropolis, it is something of importance because we even have a project there called The Quality Assurance Testing Inspection Centre. 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 $200m envelope that I mentioned, to provide technical assistance which can be in the form of grants. We will look at how we can support you 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.”.
‘Ground breaking partnership’
In his remarks, Mr Abiodu commended the bank’s support towards the production of vaccines and drugs in the African continent and its readiness to partner Gateway Pharmaceuticals in a similar direction.
He noted that the Quality Assurance Testing Centre operated by the bank would complement the international cargo airport.
He said the airport when completed would be a cargo 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 Afreximbank 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, ” he was quoted as saying.
Mr Abiodun said his administration would continue to do all it can to make Ogun the destination of choice for investors.
He said 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.
The governor further said; “We have built one and we are building another at great expense to the state. These roads are federal roads and they are also commercial roads. We invite Afreximbank 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 for 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.”
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