Posted by Nelson Obine | 21 July 2017 | 5,188 times
In more than two decades now, the world has moved away from Industrial Park to Eco-Industrial Park which is in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and rehashed by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On May 26, 2017, the government of Oyo State formally unveiled the concept design of its proposed industrial park as part of activities to mark the sixth year into the administration. It was christened: Transformation Industrial Park. If and when it eventually takes place, the government would have succeeded in fulfilling its three fold policy which include; Repositioning, Restoration and Transformation.
The park according to the Governor, Abiola Ajimobi will boast of 162 plots of land on the Ibadan-Lagos expressway with the Free Trade Zones located on 4,000 hectares of land. The Governor said his administration has attracted 34 new companies in the last six years of his administration and those companies have yielded a turnover of N32 billion and has created over 3,000 jobs.
Like most projects of this nature, policy statements and intentions are never enough to drive the wheel of socio-economic progress. It is worthwhile to subject this plan to interrogation on the basis of location, model, practicality, infrastructures and host community.
A group of curious research students led by Bukola Lawal of the University of Ibadan Centre for Sustainable Development advocates for caution in this development and rather call for Eco-Industrial Park in place of the Oyo State Transformation Industrial Park.
Location and Infrastructure
The location reflects the growing preference of the nation’s highway for both individuals and government looking for investment. Arguably, the expressway ecosystem has become the most endangered biodiversity in the hands of public and private investors. The choice of the area traversing a distance of 17km along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway raises significant questions for the economy of the location and other associated challenges that lie in wait for prospective investors.
Contemporary thinking in the national transportation plan, would suggest alignment of industrial production with maximum rail transportation system rather than road transportation, considering the potentials of the dry port at Erunmu Community in the state.
History and Model
Apparently, Nigeria has no record of industries intentionally brought together where the end product of one is the raw material of the other, which is a growing concept known as Industrial Symbiosis. This far more outweigh the Model berthing Industrial Park. Industrial Symbiosis brings about sustainable Eco-industrial Park. According to Governor Ajimobi, the state is ready to copy the development model of China which has placed the country (China) among the three leading economies of the world. Industrial Park is not just about bringing companies together but those companies must be related to each other. For example the waste product of one company will serve as raw materials for another one, such as practiced in Kalundborg in Denmark, Burnside Park, in Halifax, Nova Scotia both at Canada, and the Songhai Farm in Benin Republic. Consideration for sitting of an Independent Power Plant as a bailout of shortcoming from the national grid and a host of other infrastructures with concerns for eco-diversity is an epitome of sustainability. The most important aspect of the Park should be geared towards improving environmental quality and not economic gains alone. Sustainability of the environment must be germane so as not to result to the likes of Oluyole Industrial Estate in Oyo State.
Eco-industrial Park is an environment where businesses cooperate with each other and with the local community in an attempt to reduce waste and pollution, efficiently share resources (such as information, materials, water, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources), and help achieve sustainable development, with the intention of increasing economic gains and improving environmental quality.
The Host Community
The land on which the proposed Industrial Park is located was acquired by the administration of Senator Rasheed Ladoja. It’s a 10,000 hectare of land running from Odo Ona Bridge and traversing an area of 17km ending at 11km on the Ibadan-Lagos Express Road out of which 4,000 hectares is high marked for the Industrial Park Project.
Since acquisition of the land, it is on record that only 10% of land owners were compensated. From our history as a nation, unrewarded annexation of natural resources has always engendered a state of persistent hostilities in one form or the other. An all inclusive policy and implementation will augur well to forestall a civil breakdown.
Generally, Eco-industrial parks aid economic diversification among its host communities as many bio-based product manufacturers can attract many complimentary businesses such as recyclers, suppliers etc. It is very important that the government put into consideration not just the economic development that comes from the industrial park but also more importantly the environmental and social implication which eco industrial parks proffer solutions to.
The researchers in a brief encounter with News Express Reporter advisably said, it is not too late if this administration can lay that precedence and be a pace setter in setting and implementing real Eco-industrial parks that will not undermine the sustainability of the environment and at the same time achieving the economic gain.
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