James Emejo in Abuja
The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, has said that it is working to convince the Ministry of Solid Minerals and the Gemological Institute of Nigeria to jointly adopt the free trade zone model to customise exploration, refining, production and the marketing of a variety of expensive gemstones.
He said the move aims to reposition the country’s jewelries and gemological industry.
Speaking when he played host to a world-renowned Gemologist and Businessman,
Mr. Tom Cushman, in Abuja, the NEPZA boss, pointed out that the authority had continued to embark on the exploration of the global business space with a view to attracting investors to all sectors of the economy.
He said steps were being taken to secure the commitment of critical stakeholders for the lofty initiative in the precious stone sector to come to fruition.
Adesugba added that repositioning the industry would boost its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as create employment opportunities for youths.
He said, “No doubt, we foresee an incredible impact of this initiative on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when concretised as fresh jobs will be created and substantial illegal mining of the country’s precious stones will be dislocated.
“Let me, therefore, express my profound delight on the visit of Mr. Tom Cushman, an American Gemologist and Businessman who is prepared to assist us popularise the Nigeria’s gemstones’ industry globally.”
He added, “In the light of this, the authority is going to open discussion with the ministry of solid minerals, the Gemological Institute of Nigeria and other experts in the industry to establish the right kind of partnership that can scale-up the efficient and effective management of the sector through training and certification of qualified gemologists.”
In his remarks however, Cushman said the country was amazingly endowed with variety of solid mineral, adding that NEPZA’s decision to spearhead the initiative will help to attract huge Investments into the sector.
He said, “Nigeria must leveraged on my expertise knowledge in the training, identification, grading, and marketing of jewelries/gems so as to boost the economy more sustainably.”