Dedicated Cluster Industrial Parks

The concept of dedicated cluster Industrial parks is a cost effective way of attracting businesses to take advantage of the various incentives usually inherent in such arrangements.

It is widely used around the world, and has the advantage of concentrating industries and small scale enterprises in a single area, thereby making it easier to benefit from packaged incentives and other multiplier advantages. Setting up industrial parks is usually quite practical and cheap; all that needs to be done is highlighted as follows:

  • The provision of land, construction of feeder roads, construction of industrial units and warehouses, provision of incentives like i.e. tax waivers, free land, and construction of a dedicated power plant to uniquely service the industrial area or areas at subsidised rates amongst other possible incentives. Power generation remains a major challenge facing the development of an industrial base, however, the construction of a cluster industrial park gives an opportunity to overcome the power challenge by building and integrating a power plant solely for the industrial park that might utilise solar energy, wind energy, coal or other sources of energy to provide regular uninterrupted power supply to the industrial parks at cost effective rates.
  • Massive dedicated cluster Industrial parks should be set up in the 3 senatorial zones of every state in the South East and in major urban centres. Types of industries should take into consideration the areas where the various towns, cities or states have comparative advantages. Whereas Orlu axis for example has long been known for Pharmaceutical products, industries related to pharmaceuticals can naturally be set up in Orlu. Ebonyi State being naturally endowed in agricultural production will likewise attract a concentration of agro-allied industries. The strategy of locating industries in areas of comparative advantage will help in maximising productivity.
  • The mass establishment and support of small scale enterprises remains the greatest area of potential growth and job creation in the immediate short term. Many of such small scale industries already exist in unplanned and sometimes squalid environments in major urban centres such as Aba, Onitsha, and Nnewi amongst others. Soft goods such as shoes, handbags, clothings, sunglasses etc are already produced in these areas. Because of lack of government aid and support, lack of enabling environment, lack of infrastructure and difficulties in acquiring equipment such as industrial sewing machines, productivity and quality of goods are low and lack standardization. Therefore, new small scale enterprises should be established in the designated industrial parks and already existing small scale enterprises operating in squalid environments should be relocated to the newly created well planned industrial parks to enable them benefit from advantages and incentives that will aid productivity, rapid industrialisation and generation of employment. It is possible to achieve a target of upwards of two million small scale enterprises in the short and long term engaged in the production of all kinds of soft and hard goods for export and local markets potentially generating up to ten million jobs.
  • Provision of aid through the creation of a targeted “enterprise loans scheme,” that will provide funding for small scale enterprises, and the establishment of an “equipment procurement and leasing agency,” by the region or various states. This agency will purchase equipment such as industrial sewing machines and other critical equipment for leasing to some of the operators of small scale enterprises who cannot afford such equipment.
  • Establishment of a “quality control agency” with the specific agenda to aid the standardization and enhancement of the production of soft and hard goods i.e. soft goods: shoes, toys, textiles, bags etc, hard goods: mechanical parts, computer chips etc. Standardization and quality control will make the goods more acceptable for the export market.
  • Establishment of free trade zones, export processing zones and a South East chamber of commerce. The chamber of commerce should have a website which would scout for foreign investors, by highlighting and promoting potentials in solid minerals, agriculture and manufacturing amongst others in the south East region.
  • Expansion and modernisation-regeneration of the Onitsha and Aba International Markets and the Establishment of more international markets in other suitable locations.
  • Construction of an ambitious industrial and tourist resort in Oguta Lake which will be a haven for investors and tourists.
  • The Nigerian film industry was recently classified the 2nd largest in the world. It is an industry that has a lot of potential for the creation of employment and generation of resources. A film village with modern studios should be created in Enugu that will maximise the potentials of the film industry in the area.
  • A major plank of the industrialisation agenda must concentrate on making the already existing entrepreneurial base a national asset by helping the individual producers in Aba and Nnewi particularly who had hitherto operated in very crude challenging environments to increase productivity and standardize their goods towards internationally acceptable qualities in preparation for a potentially massive export industry that can put the Southeast in the same league as Taiwan, and Singapore.