The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Senate Committee on Trade, Industry and Investment had agreed to strengthen synergy on critical roles aimed at expediting the country’s industrialization process.
This agreement was reached when Sen. Francis Fadahunsi, Acting Chairman of the committee led other of his colleagues to pay courtesy visit on the Managing Director of the Authority, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba on Thursday in Abuja.
Adesugba had said: ``this occasion is very important to me because I am sure you know I have just been recently appointed and this will be the first major interaction that I am having with your distinguished personalities.
``The role of the senate and the entire National Assembly in enabling us to reach our mandate is very critical to us.
``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.
``We are all part of the downturn in the global economy and that also which is affecting Nigeria we are looking in-house at the possibilities of NEPZA been a catalyst to propel the economy from where it is now.
The NEPZA boss further said the negative impacts of the prevailing hash economic outlook brought by the Covid-19 pandemic could be quickly ameliorated using the strategy of free zone.
The managing director explained that: ``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’’.
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.
``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.
`` What we need in NEPZA is renovation upon renovation, 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.
``As regard us, we are ready to work with the executive arm and by extension, the Authority to ensure whatever laws we are going to amend to assist you to bring innovation that will make you to do things differently is given priority,’’ the acting chairman of the committee said.
Fadahunsi also said: ``with your experience, we hope that foreign business partners will come to Nigeria very soon. On this note if there is any enabling law you are thinking of, that can be brought up’’.
According to the acting committee chairman, the country is losing huge revenues from lack of foresight in the management of the free trade zone scheme.
``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.
`` 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
Fadahunsi further explained that: ``we are going to back you on behalf of the 9th senate for you to have new trade zones’’.
``As soon as you set some good foundations others will follow but you have to have synergy with all the relevant agencies so that the economy will move. NEPZA is one of the pillars of the country’s economy.
``On behalf of my distinguished colleagues, we welcome you on board as we urge you to come up with innovations and we are ready to partner with you so that Nigeria can get out of its lingering economy problem’’, Fadahunsi said.
Sen. Sabo Nakudu, and Sen. Tolu Adebi were the other committee members at the event.