NEPZA, NIPC join forces on free trade zones’ investment drive

By Felix Khanoba

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) have agreed to work together to attract the desired investments to the 41 free trade zones in the country.

The renewed pact between the two agencies was made known in Abuja on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to NIPC by the new Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba.

Prof. Adesugba said it has become necessary for the two agencies to work together in a more robust fashion, adding that such partnership was the antidote to the several encumbrances hindering the smooth operations of the country’s free zone scheme.

“The two agencies have been under carrying out this onerous function and this is why we need to work more closely to ensure the country continues to entice investments into those trade locations,” the NEPZA boss said in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.

The statement signed by Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, also quoted him as expressing the need to breathe new life into the trade zones through a robust inter-agency cooperation.

“Apparently over the years, we do not know what had happened to those locations. Those geographical entities by now should be leading the industrialization process because all the incentives are supposed to be there.

“The collaborative efforts we are going to have with NIPC would be magnetic and very inclusive. We understand that NIPC has the mandate to assist us attract and maintain investments by supporting our service delivery process.

“Ordinarily, NIPC should be the watchdog to ensure that other agencies under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment are positioned to comply with best global industry practices.

“We are therefore seeking the cooperation of the Executive Secretary of the commission to carefully monitor us so that the Authority meets the basic tenets of investment promotion. This has become vitally important to position Nigeria to grab a substantial portion of the world’s investment post COVID-19 pandemic. The world is going to be seeking investments after the pandemic and the process would be highly competitive,’’ Adesugba said.

On her part, NIPC’s Executive Secretary, Yewande Sadiku, expressed delight on the appointment of the new NEPZA boss, saying he is a proven technocrat with the right wealth of knowledge to carry the agency to its zenith.

While assuring NIPC support to attract the right investors to the nation’s free trade zones, Sadiku said NEPZA parades a great platform to drive the country’s industrialization to an expected end.

“Prof. Adesugba retired as a Director from NIPC and I have heard about his contributions and great exploits in the commission. I, therefore, see you as someone with a great reputation and an asset to NEPZA having worked in NIPC.

“The commission is ready to support NEPZA to succeed. Such partnership is needed even among all agencies of government as no man is an island,’’ Sadiku said.

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