The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has begun the process of converting Industrial Development Centres (IDCs) in Nigeria to industrial clusters, an official has said.
The Director-General (D-G) of the commission, Mr Chidi Izuwah, said this on Thursday when he visited the Imo IDC in Owerri.
Izuwah, represented by Mr Michael Ohiani, the Director of Public Private Partnership (PPP) Resources Department, said that the Federal Government was committed to revamping IDCs in the country.
He said that the Imo IDC was among the first six of 23 IDCs identified by the federal government for the pilot phase of conversion to industrial clusters through PPP.
According to him, the project was designed to provide critical infrastructure and common amenities that would aid Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to be more effective and efficient.
Izuwah said: “The project is targeted at bringing IDCs back to life because SMEs are supposed to be the greater employers and drivers of the economy that should help to boost job creation and Gross Domestic Product.
“With PPP, the federal government provides just a Viability Gap Funding, thus saving money for the government and bringing more innovation and efficiency.
“One of our success stories is the linking of PPP to Garki Hospital, Abuja, where no fewer than 40 heart surgeries and kidney transplants have been successfully carried out through the project.”
The D-G praised the zonal IDC coordinator in Owerri, Mrs Chinyere Nwoke, for her hard work and being able to restore electricity to the Owerri centre upon her assumption of office in February.
Responding, Nwoke thanked the ICRC for its “loyal attachment to the course of nation building.”
She, however, listed some challenges facing the centre to include under-funding and encroachment on the facilities by the natives.
“We highly commend the ICRC for this all-important step toward the revamping of our IDCs through PPP.
“We appeal to the federal government for more funding and staff to enable us to meet increasing demands.
“We also call on government to look into the problem of encroachment by the natives.”
Nwoke also appealed to the public, especially colleges and tertiary institutions, to take advantage of the centre by sending industrial attaches to benefit from the training at the centre.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that high point of the visit was the presentation of the working documents to the Imo IDC coordinator by the ICRC D-G.