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NEPZA seeks partnership to reposition precious stones industry

Oluwasina Phillip

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority has said it is on the verge of convincing the Ministry of Solid Minerals and the Gemological Institute of Nigeria to jointly adopt the free trade zone model to customise the exploration, refining, production and the marketing of variety of expensive gemstones.

The Managing Director, NEPZA, Adesoji Adesugba, disclosed this while playing host to Mr Tom Cushman, an American gemologist and businessman in Abuja, according to a statement.

Adesugba said the agency had continued to embark on the exploration of the global business space with the view to attracting investors to all sectors of the economy, adding that steps were been taken to secure the commitment of critical stakeholders for the initiative to come to fruition.

He said, “In the light of this, the authority is going to open discussion with the Ministry of Solid Minerals, the Gemological Institute of Nigeria and other experts in the industry to establish the right kind of partnership that can scale up the efficient and effective management of the sector through training and certification of qualified gemologists.

“No doubt, we foresee an incredible impact of this initiative on the country’s Gross Domestic Product when concretised as fresh jobs will be created and substantial illegal mining of the country’s precious stones will be dislocated.

“Let me, therefore, express my profound delight on the visit of Mr Tom Cushman, an American gemologist and businessman, who is prepared to assist us popularise the Nigeria’s gemstones industry globally.”

Cushman, who noted that Nigerian is endowed with a variety of solid minerals, said NEPZA’s decision to spearhead the initiative would help to attract huge investments into the sector.

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