The Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba said “with several economic zones all over the country, Nigeria has the capacity to prepare its manufacturing sector for the challenges” that may stem from the operations of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement billed to start January, 2021.
Adesugba, who expressed the optimism while on a familiarization visit to the Kano Free Trade Zone, noted that “the zones, as we have seen, present a functional model to be capitalised upon to grow the economy, to create wealth and engage our teeming youth.”
According Adesugba, who was recently appointed the NEPZA’s Managing Director, free zone model has helped several countries to grow, commending the Federal Government for creating the opportunities through establishing Special Economic Zones.
Adesugba challenged the staff to make the zones fully functional as “NEPZA is key to national economic revival, job creation and Nigeria’s successful outing under the incoming AfCFTA regime.
“I have gone round the various factories and I have seen how vibrant the enterprises are despite the pandemic and funding constraints. We all see great products the factories are producing, strengthening our hopes that NEPZA is indeed a strong platform to enhancing the manufacturing capacity of the nation and widening of its export potentials. The opportunities and potentials are huge.
“It is time to make the economic zones truly functional by serving as true investors’ service professionals. We must assist investors, both those already on site and those that will be coming”, he said, warning that ” we must not scare investors with over -regulation. We must in real sense act more like facilitator than regulator.
“Our job is to support the businesses in the zones ; We should never constitute hindrance on the path of investors. We plead with our sister agencies to understand the free tax and free import duty principle behind all free zones worldwide. Nigeria should not be different or else we become less competitive. The Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Federal Government is clear on all these” , the Managing Director said.
While commending the investors for patronising the zones, Adesugba assured them that the administration of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to deploy the economic zones as a vehicle for accelerated economic growth, noting ” we are open for business and our zones are set for critical innovations for investors services”