NEPZA Urges Private Sector To Patronise Free Trade Zones As Buffers

Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director, Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), has urged Organised Private Sector (OPS) to patronise Free Trade Zones (FTZs) nationwide to ward-off widespread business uncertainty occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement signed by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications of NEPZA on Tuesday in Abuja, Adesugba made the call during a visit to the President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajia Saratu Aliyu.

The NEPZA boss said the industrialisation of the country could be achieved faster if government and OPS worked together.

Adesugba was before his appointment the National Legal Adviser of NACCIMA.

“NEPZA will continue to partner with the private sector. NEPZA holds a double status as a facilitator and promoter of investments-free business environment and a regulator that ensures compliance with standards.

“The organisation that I head was set up to manage and regulate FTZs, which are only business enclave that now guarantee nearness to markets dislocated by a strain in global transportation and logistics against devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic as we are aware continues to distort business logistics globally and so, global investors are looking for workable FTZs to move into.

“Doing so will guarantee preservation of the supply chains and their investments,’’ he said.

According to him, the supply chain management is going to be critical as COVID-19 has changed business logistics but if we can take advantage of various incentives which include tax holiday, absence of customs duties and multiple taxes charged outside FTZs, then our businesses can stay afloat.

He said that the authority was working assiduously to introduce variety of Economic Special Zones (ESZ), saying that Medical, Solid Mineral, Agriculture and Technology were to be considered.

Adesugba explained that the establishment of Constituency Industrial Parks in the over 300 Federal Constituencies were also being contemplated.

The NEPZA boss promised to use experience garnered while being an active member of NACCIMA to deliver positively as head of the agency.

Earlier, the NACCIMA president said Adesugba’s commitment to excellence, transparency, due process and probity would make him reposition NEPZA as the pride of the country.

She explained that the association was prepared to collaborate and support the authority to achieve its mandate, saying that the country’s FTZs scheme remained secured for investors and should be exploited.

On his part, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said the chamber would support Adesugba to have a successful tenure in NEPZA.

Kayode, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, added that the chambers had approved that NEPZA should become an automatic member of the Chambers’ council.

“We want to broaden our operations. We hope that when we come asking for NEPZA’s partnership and support, it will be there for us.

“We are indeed grateful to government for appointing our man as head of this very important agency,’’ he said.

Kayode said that the creation of more Special Economic Zones, would help in the actualisation of the country’s industrialisation.

NEPZA officials were taken on inspection tour of the association’s Business Entrepreneurship Skills and Technology (BEST) Centre, Gemmological Institute of Nigeria (GIN) and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development Jewellery Centre respectively.

The highpoint of the visit was the decoration of Adesugba as NACCIMA Ambassador.

 

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