The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), has urged states to take part in the free trade zones scheme.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the managing director/CEO of NEPZA said this in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Abuja.
He dismissed claims by Akwa Ibom of having difficulty in obtaining a licence from NEPZA to establish a free trade zone.
According to Adesugba, all states in Nigeria have been asked to take part in the free trade zones scheme by applying through the Nigeria Processing Zones Authority.
“I am not sure we have records of Akwa Ibom applying for any free zone licence and we are inviting them if they so desire to have a free zone.
“This is because it is our desire to have a free zone in each state of the country regardless of who is the political head.
“We are talking of the economy, we are talking of Nigeria and we are talking of Nigerians. Poverty does not know a party.
“The president has been magnanimous, he has treated everybody equally under his economic agenda using the free zone scheme,’’ Adesugba said.
He said that NEPZA was already working with some states to ensure the establishment of trade zones in the states.
“It is on record that we have been working very closely with every state that so desire. We are working with Delta and they are very happy with the free zone scheme under this regime.
“We have been working very closely with Sokoto State and very soon we shall start implementing and Borno will soon start off their scheme.
“It is also on record that Ekiti state has applied.
“We have been to other states of the country and any state that is receptive to the economic agenda under the free zone scheme we are very happy to accommodate them.
“We are inviting Akwa Ibom and we will be very happy to work with them if they desire to apply for a free zone scheme and we can assure them that the process will be very fast.
“We are also very sure that the presidency will look at it passionately,’’ Adesugba said.
Highlighting the economic benefits, Adesugba said that the free trade zones in Nigeria attracted 30 billion dollars investments.
“Right now, we have investments of more than 25 billion dollars upward to 30 billion dollars if you put everything together under this scheme.
“It is working, it works elsewhere and it is working for Nigeria and everybody is welcome to have the licence, we will consider it,’’ Adesugba said.
According to him, there are more than 1,300 of such schemes spread over China and that is what China uses as a strategy to ensure that they develop.
“That is why you see most Chinese groups here, very competitive. We want to do the same thing.
“In Africa, we have only 240. Under the NEPZA scheme we have about 46 and I was looking at the number of free zones that are actually working, we have 30 of them that are actually working.
“The president has just approved some spread over the states without looking at which state belongs to whom.
“We are still encouraging states, private investors to consider utilising the scheme and we can assure you it works,’’ Adesugba said.
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