The Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba said the country’s export processing zones must be immediately optimised to manufacture and produce goods for export, adding that “In a free trade regime, you must export goods or you become a dumping ground”.
He noted that it will also be in the interest all stakeholders to be aware of the operating environment with the proposed implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA) and the associated stiff competition for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Speaking during a web conference with over 30 chief executive of free trade and special economic zones in the country, Adesugba noted that the challenges facing efficient operations of the zones could only be resolved by productive engagement among agencies with mandate touching on the sub-sector.
He said:”For us to manufacture, we must enable investment by creating the right climate.
If we do not create enabling environment, investors will head to other jurisdictions.
“More critically, we need the zones to create jobs and escape the building time bomb created by deepening unemployment. So we have good reasons why other stakeholders must listen to resolve the operational challenges facing the FTZs and SEZs.’
In a statement by Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, Mr. Martins Odeh, Adesugba however, assured operators of the zones of an active and result oriented stakeholders’ engagement going forward.
He said:”I understand all the knotty issues you are facing. I am committing myself to a well structured interaction and collaborative partnership with the Customs service, Immigration, FIRS and all sister agencies to iron out outstanding issues.”