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BANKING AND FINANCE

FG, Afreximbank, Others Sign Deal To Develop Special Economic Zones

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The federal government has signed investment agreements with three development finance institutions; Afreximbank, Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for the development of special economic zones in the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who presided over the ceremony at the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Villa, declared the investment company in the special economic zones will become operational.

The federal government set up NSEZCO Limited as a vehicle for participating in Public-Private Partnerships involving Federal and State governments and local and foreign private investors to develop new Special Economic Zones all over the country, offering world class infrastructure and facilities at competitive costs. The projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park.

The three DFIs are among the five to partner with NSEZCO and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated. NSEZCO intends to raise at least US$500million in equity over the first five years in order to execute its ambitious strategy of becoming a leading investor in special economic zones in the country. The other investment partners are African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

Called Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Exports) the development of special economic zones under the direct supervision of President Muhammudu Buhari, is a Presidential special priority intervention aimed using the zones to attract substantial foreign and domestic investment for the development of world-class facilities dedicated to export-oriented manufacturing in a range of industries across Nigeria.

Project MINE seeks to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa and as a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally; as well as boosting manufacturing’s share of Gross Domestic Product to 20 per cent; generating $30bn in annual export earnings; and creating 1.5 million new jobs all by 2025.

Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, whose ministry, Industry, Trade and Investment is implementing Project MINE, recalled President Buhari’s choice for special economic zones to hasten industrial development and the mandate to the ministry to attract investors to participate in the project.

The signing of the agreement was done by Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank; My Kayode Pitan, Managing Director of Bank of Industry and Mr. Uche Orji, Managing Director of NSIA.

Mr. Femi Edun, a director of NSEZCO and Dr Bakari Wadinga, Director, Ministry of Finance Incorporated, signed on behalf of the company.

Speaking separately, they all thanked the Federal Government for the opportunity to participate in the project and said they are happy to be partners because they believe in it and are confident of its success.


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