The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) are mulling partnership that will migrate huge investments to the newly approved Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Lagos, Kwara and Katsina.
Recall that the Federal Government this year, approved a total of six SEZs to be evenly sited in the six geo-political zone, but, earmarked these three for development this fiscal year while the rest three were deferred to 2022.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, MD/CEO of NEPZA and his counterpart, Ms Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary of NIPC agreed on this partnership when the former paid the later during a courtesy visit on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adesugba in a statement by the spokesman of NEPZA, Martins Odeh,explained that efforts were underway to use the special economic zones to stimulate genuine economic activities across the country, adding that a synergy with NIPC would help to migrate the desired local and international investments to those zones.
The NEPZA Chief Executive Officer said that the three new zones which were approved as medical, agro-allied and cotton clusters respectively would help to boost production linkages required for economic growth.
Adesugba added that the partnership would also significantly spur the interest of international investors on the medical free zone to be sited in Lekki, saying that the zone would drastically reduce the country’s capital flight through medical tourism abroad.
“We are also hopeful that the Medical Free Trade Zone will be a convergence of world-class hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, aged homes, hotels and medical based research institutes. This enclave when operational would retard the migration of medical professionals abroad.
“The Authority has in the last one year under my watch adopted a few innovations to assist the workforce to execute our mandate. These include restructuring of the directorate cadre; establishment of Health and Safety Unit; establishment of NEPZA Security Outfit; establishment of Special Economic Zones’ Association; establishment of Alternative Dispute Unit among others,’’ he said.
Adesugba further said that President Muhammadu Buhari had great expectation of the Authority to fast track the country’s industrislisation, adding that the management team and the entire workforce appreciated the huge investment the federal government had so far made to upscale the potentials of the agency.
“This visit is aimed at seeking more investment information and direction from the commission so that we can jointly deliver on our mandates.’’ the NEPZA boss said.
According to him, all the agencies with direct affiliation to execute the country’s lofty economic programmes must engage in frequent cross fertilisation of ideas as doing so will help to expand the country’s investment horizon.
Sadiku on her part, expressed satisfaction in the way and manner the NEPZA boss had repositioned the agency and promoted the special economic zones model across the country.
The NIPC boss had described Adesugba as an investment promotion guru with long years of experience, adding that “I am not surprised with the high level of successes recorded so far within your 12 months of being the MD of this important establishment.’’
The executive secretary said that the commission was prepared to partner with NEPZA to accelerate economic development, adding that the three new special economic zones would be used as pilot scheme for vigorous investment drive.