Arrangements have been concluded on the building of an international market at Mgbidi in Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State.The market, known as Heartland Gateway International Market, will sit on the 28.097 hectares of land along Owerri-Onitsha Expressway by Oguta Junction.Speaking on the occasion of the pre-construction site visit of offtakers (members of the Imo State Towns Development Association, Lagos and Ohanaeze Ndigbo) of the market, the promoter of the project, Dr. Meckson Okoro of M.I. Okoro & Associates disclosed that the market would comprise 10,000 shopping units (lock-up and open ones) as well as 3000 housing units ever built in the town.
The market, he said, was envisaged as multi-purpose commercial and business service centre, which would serve as a key destination for Imo State and Nigeria in general , adding that the market project would reflect the ones in China, UK or any European or American country.Okoro disclosed that his firm and the promoter, Graceland Channels Limited have secured the partnership of three banks?First Bank, Fidelity and Keystone Banks? to coordinate the financial contribution to be done by traders and other stakeholders.He said the prospective shop owners would have to give firm commitment of the type of they need and pay at least 30 percent of the total amount to the project which ranged from N3million and aboveHe disclosed that there would be more than 80 units of standard size warehouses, adding that banking halls/ lettable office spaces, clinic and pharmacy, fire station, parking space for cars and articulated vehicles, schools for children, full utility centre will be some of the common features the market.
In order to cater for the housing needs of those that would use the market, he stated, another land within the town had been designated for the housing estate that consist of 3000 units of various classes.He thanked the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha for making the initiative possible promising not to disappoint, disclosing that the project would be public private partnership-based to enable the people purchase it within a time frame.Also speaking, the chief executive officer of Graceland Channels Limited, the developing firm, Pastor Nat Omoruyi stated that the Heartland International Gateway Market would be the most modern, mega malls integrated and organized market and biggest marketplace of international standard in Sub-Saharan Africa to serve the sub region and beyond.When fully operational, the developer disclosed that the market would generate in excess ofN100 million in volume of trade and business transactions daily, saying that the ripple effect of business activities would positively affect the economy of Nigeria and other African countries within the sub regionOmoruyi stated that the market would be constructed at an estimated cost of N16,200,000,000 over a two-year period, explaining that within the next one year, the first phase of the market?5000 units?would be completed and commenced, while the remaining 5000 units would be completed in the following year.
He disclosed that more than 20,000 jobs would be generated for the unemployed youths, while cottage industries would eventually spring up to meet immediate demands among other benefits.Reacting, the deputy speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Donatus Ozoemena commended the promoters of the market for their sincerity in in coming to develop the town, pledging the support of the people of the area and the government of the state to ensure the project was successful.