Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (Nepza) has unveiled its plans to attract $15billion Investments into the Free Trade Zones (FTZ) of the country in the next five years.
The managing Director of the Agency, Mr. Gbenga Kuye who declared this to journalists during a press conference in Abuja, stated that NEPZA which had earlier attracted about $9.4bon investment into all the free zones, different from the $1billion investment that was generated through General Electric in Calabar Free Trade Zone recently, also said the agency seeks to play a catalytic role in the successful implementation of the federal government’s Industrial Revolution Plan, initiated by Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
His words: “Today, we have attracted about $9.4bn investment into all the free zones. This is without the $1billion investment that we got through General Electric in Calabar Free Trade Zone recently.
“However, for the next five years, we have a projection of attracting investment of about $15billion into all our free zones.”
Kuye stressed that his major concern towards making Nigeria an industrial nation, was to ensure that majority of the recommendations of the Ministerial Committees set up by the minister of trade and investment to transform the Free Trade Zones across the country are implemented.
The director who also stated that part of the plans by his agency geared towards industrializing the nation include vigorously reviewing the processes of granting approval and licences to free zones across the country, putting in place a plan to revamp or close down the free zones that were not economically viable, focusing on the value addition and economic viability of the free zones in terms of job creation, wealth creation, skills acquisition and technology transfer. He also revealed that the nation has over 25 free economic zones. He stated that although nine are fully operational, “six are under construction and four are at design stages, while six are yet to take off.”
The Director emphasized that most of the free zones that were yet to take off are largely state-owned. He attributed the problems affecting these free zones at state levels to frequent changes of leadership.
Kuye who said his agency was reorganizing the free zones so as to enable them achieve optimal performance also remarked that they were reviewing the process of appraising free zone applications in order to determine those that are serious and those that are not from the new seven applications submitted to the agency.
He underlined that world over, free zones ignite and champion economic development; hence should be taken serious in the country. “All over the world, free zones are veritable tools for economic development. So, along that line, we need to revive those free zones that are economically viable but are moribund” he added.