With over $77billion foreign direct investments(FDI), Nigeria’s free trade zones now account for over 60 per cent of FDI inflows into the country.
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) which made this disclosure in Abuja, said its focus is on high profile investors and their value chains.
The regulatory agency said the inflows also covered four industrial parks spread across the country.
The agency also said that the ingenuity deployed in the management of these zones has also contributed in no small way in retaining the confidence of these investors.
Managing director, NEPZA, Mr Gbenga Kuye, who dropped this hint during a workshop for the media penultimate week said a new Act that would make NEPZA the sole agency responsible for the country’s industrialisation was already underway.
Kuye, who said the country was currently under performing in industrial development explained that under the new Act, the name of the agency would be changed to Nigerian Industrial Development and Zones Authority (NIDZA), to reflect its expanded role.
While stressing that the path to industrialisation, no matter how ambitious, cannot succeed without a sound infrastructure base, Kuye said under the new Act, the agency would rigorously pursue an industrial policy aimed at creating a dynamic domestic comparative advantage in an increasingly complex and sophisticated range of products and services.
According to him, NEPZA would not create additional free zones, nor shut down those found to be non-viable, but would instead, create additional industrial parks that would stimulate the nation’s economy and accelerate industrialisation.
He disclosed that the agency had already reached out to some investors to take over some of the zones found to be non-viable, buy out the people there , and run them.
“That’s the kind of approach that we are using now, if you keep shutting down, you will never get to the desired level, to set up a free zone takes a lot of time,” he added.
Some of the areas licensed by NEPZA according to him, include the Centenary City ($18billion), with expected employment generation of 69,030 jobs on completion; Ogogoro Industrial Park ($160million), with estimated employment generation of 30,000 jobs when completed; Nigeria International Commerce City formerly Eko Atlantic City ($38billion), with expected employment generation of one million jobs when completed ; Badagry Creek Integrated Industrial Park ($1.3billion), with expected employment generation of 23,000 jobs ; NAHCO Free Zone($22.5million), expected to generate 5,613 jobs on completion; Lekki Deep Sea Port($1.4billion),expected to generate 150,000 jobs on completion ; General Electric (GE) of USA ($1billion) in the Calabar free zone to create over 1,000 jobs on completion; Gas Revolution Industrial Park at Ogidiben in Delta State ($15billion), to create 800,000 jobs on completion; and the Maritime Economic City ($2.8billion).
Kuye also disclosed that the agency was presently in talks with the Cross River State government on the establishment of an automotive industrial cluster in the state.
He said the latest initiative followed a bilateral relation agreement between Japan and Nigeria, where Japan has promised to help.