N50b West African Trade Centre in Ogbunike to create 25,000 jobs, says Obi

By The Citizen

The Anambra government said on Thursday that work would start on the proposed N50 billion West Africa Trade Centre at Ogbunike, near Onitsha which will hopefully create over 25,000 jobs in November.

The trade centre, sited at Ogbunike junction on the Onitsha-Enugu road, would help decongest markets in Onitsha.

The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Robert Okonkwo, told newsmen during the site clearing of the 50-hectare land that the centre would create 25,000 jobs and provide a first-class one-stop business environment for the West African sub-region.

He noted that the first phase of the project would be ready in six months after its inauguration.

“The state government has acquired well-sited and choice 50 hectares of land for the project at the two in one Louis Odumegwu-Ojukwu complex in Ogbunike community, which is just after Onitsha town.

“The centre will be constructed in phases. It will have more than 100 blocks of shopping malls with modern facilities like eateries, offices, bonded warehouse, hotels, car park and a police post.

The President of the Consolidated Market Unions in Anambra, Chief Obiorah Onyema, urged Gov. Peter Obi to invest in the centre as a mean of poverty alleviation.

“Gov. Obi is encouraged to see if he would possibly acquire 4000 shops in the centre and distribute same to women and unemployed graduates selected from the 177 communities in the state, who are interested in being self-employed.

“They should be allowed to pay back the cost of the shops in a period of 10 years with 10 per cent interest on the value of the stores at the end of the payment period as government equity.

“This will uplift more than 4000 families from poverty due to the multiplier effect that such gesture will have on families, especially if majority of the beneficiaries are women,'' Onyema said.

Seven banks have indicated interest to finance the project due to its high profitability forecast.