James Emejo in Abuja
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) said it is working with the Ekiti State Government for the establishment of a knowledge-based and special agricultural economic zonewe in the state.
Managing Director/Chief Executive of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said while the federal government would continue to assist and develop policies that would aid development of states in terms of industrialisation, governments at the state level should leverage on the special economic zones and free trade zones which had as have been successfully utilised in China, Dubai, Ethiopia and Turkey.
Speaking when he received Gov. Kayode Fayemi, who paid him a visit in Abuja, Adesugba said the authority was willing to license the proposed zone.
He said developing economies all over the world are using the economic zone strategy to fast track industrialisation adding that state governors should key into the scheme.
The NEPZA boss said the authority would continue to partner states to actualise the aspiration of establishing well thought out knowledge-based and agricultural special economic zones.
He told the governor that the proposed zone had the potential to empower young people of government provides the right environment and ensure that the necessary incentive including infrastructure are put in place.
Fayemi, however said NEPZA remained a critical vehicle in the country’s quest to attract investments, local production, industrialization as well as revenue generation through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
He said the proposed zone would primarily be dedicated to a knowledge economy, knowledge production and knowledge generation for the country adding that, “We also intend to use the scheme to elevate the status of our agriculture where all the value chains would be harnessed for greater benefit of the people.”
He said: “We all talk about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) all the time, we all talk about creating an enabling environment, but to ensure that these happen, we must think outside of the box in order to drive the process in our localities.
“It is indeed crucial that we recognise and disaggregate those investments in terms of sub-national opportunities at the state level.
“For us in Ekiti we arguably have comparative advantages in the areas of scholarship and agriculture. We are very keen in our knowledge economic agenda to have a status of a special economic zone which is going to be the first service oriented zone. “
“The state is known as the fountain of knowledge and there must be a way to turn knowledge into wealth. What the COVID-19 has done to us is for us to begin to see economic diversities as opportunities and to exploit them.”
“That really is the purpose for our proposed knowledge zone which sits within our education quadrangle. For us in Ekiti, this is the ministry that we have a stake in, it is a wonderful opportunity for us in Ekiti to engage with you and your team.”