By Tanko Mohammed
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), has said the government was laying enduring solid foundation for the industrialization of Nigeria.
Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications of NEPZA, said in a statement on Friday that Adesugba made the remarks at global business audience via webinar at the 5th Annual Meeting of the Africa Economic Zones Organisation.
Adesugba focused his discussion on the Nigerian Special Economic Zones business case and provided the thought about how the scheme could serve the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
Adesugba, said the Dangote Industries Free Zone, Lekki, Lagos and a host of other private zones with a cumulative investment of over 20 billion US dollar provided the country with a firm foundation toward realizing its industrialization roadmap.
The NEPZA boss explained that the establishment of petrochemical industries, the fertilizer companies and Deep Seaports on economic zones had already attracted an inflow of over 20 billion US dollars for the nation.
“The Free Zones concept in Nigeria has come to stay and no matter how challenging the task might be, it is our conviction that within two to three years, some of these investments would come to fruition.
“The Nigeria’s story on using the zones to ignite production, to create jobs for our teeming youth, and to attract both Local Direct Investment and Foreign Direct Investment is positive and inspiring.
“There are challenges, but the political will to address those challenges is now certain. NEPZA as a regulatory body is assiduously committed to implementing the vision of the government in using the scheme to create wealth and prosperity for the citizens,’’ he said.
Adesugba said: “while tackling these challenges, the government is working to revamp and make the special economic zones project more possible so as to attract the needed investment to this part of the world.’’
The managing director reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari had special conviction that NEPZA could power the country’s economic growth through the free trade zone scheme.
He added that such conviction again was displayed with the recent approval and designation of six economic zones across the country.
“NEPZA is, however, set to start the development of three of those zones in 2021 with Public Private Partnership arrangement. So, interested investors from all over the world are welcome to join us in this initiative’’.
Adesugba stated that Nigeria was on the verge of unveiling its maiden Medical Special Economic Zone next year, adding that a special business area for world class hospitals and pharmaceutical industries would reduce medical tourism which encouraged huge capital flight abroad.
“The medical is important especially in this era when the nation and other nations in the world are battling with the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant negative effects on both Africa and global logistics’’, he said.