By James Emejo
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Senate Committee on Trade, Industry and Investment said they would strengthen synergy on critical roles to quicken the country’s industrialisation process.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of the authority, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said the collaboration became important as the country looks inward at the possibilities of NEPZA been a catalyst to propel the economy particular as the downturn in the global economy has affected every country.
The agreement was reached when the acting Chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, led other members on a courtesy visit to NEPZA.
The NEPZA boss further said the negative impacts of the prevailing harsh economic outlook brought by the COVID-19 pandemic could be quickly ameliorated using the strategy of free zone.
He said: In this respect, we have looked at what is on ground especially the special economic zones that the government had created and we intend to give life to for full operations to commence in those locations as this a sure way to create the much needed employment and to spark genuine industrialisation.
“I hope and pray that this committee helps galvanise the required support for the Authority by taking us into consideration when issues relating to assisting us comes into play at the national assembly.”
According to him, the role of the senate and the entire National Assembly was critical in enabling the authority to achieve its mandate.
He said: “I have no doubt that we will be working very closely with your committee to ensure that NEPZA attains its objective in playing a very critical role in the industrialization of Nigeria.”
On his part, however Fadahunsi had expressed delight in Adesugba’s appointment as the chief executive of the agency, adding that President Muhamadu Buhari had picked the right person to reposition the authority.
He said the National Assembly was ready to work with the executive arm and by extension, the authority to ensure that whatever laws that needed amendment to aid NEPZA’s innovations are acted upon.
He said:”What we need in NEPZA is innovation upon innovation, infrastructural facilities for economic growth, just provide infrastructural facilities and security in the zones that can attract investors, they will come.
“You have to have synergy with security agency for whatever free zone you have created automatically people will be free to exercise their right there and things will move.
“We are happy to be here and with your appointment we hope strongly with the cooperation of the 9th senate things will move I believe because you have been an achiever.”
While reposing confidence in the ability of the MD to turn around the fortunes of the country, he said, “There is now a respite that you have come to manage the agency. We expect positive changes in many areas. We shall also support you in the creation of additional or new free trade zones.”
The lawmaker added:”We will support such initiative as that will provide opportunities for our teeming youth population to be gainfully employed. Such development will help in taming the current high crime rate.”