James Emejo in Abuja
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, has tasked staff and clients of the agency to join hands for expedited economic recovery of the nation.
Addressing the officials of the agency while on a visit to the Kano Free Trade Zone, 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 enhance the manufacturing capacity of the nation and widening of its export potentials. The opportunities and potentials are huge.
“With several economic zones all over the country, Nigeria has the capacity to prepare its manufacturing sector for the challenges of AFCTA. 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. The model has helped several countries to grow and also seize the opportunity created by the Federal Government of Nigeria in establishing these Special Economic Zones”, he said.
Adesugba told the management team that it was 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, even as he warned “we must not scare investors with over -regulation. We must in real sense act more like a facilitator than a 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 investors for patronising the zones, Adesugba assured them that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to deploy the economic zones as a vehicle for accelerated economic growth.
“We are open for business and our zones are set for critical innovations for investors’ services,” he added.
Responding on behalf of the staff, the General Manager, Kano Free Zone, Hajia Ya Gana Hassan presented an overview of the zone , listing the achievements and challenges even as she reaffirmed the readiness of her team to beef up management services to facilitate more investment and satisfy those already on the site.