The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA in a bid to spike influx of both local and International investors to the 41 Free Trade Zones strategically located in the Country had sought partnership of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC to expedite the process.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba requested the collaborative effort on Tuesday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit on NIPC’s Executive Secretary, Yewande Sadiku.
Adesugba said it was imperatively vital 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.
``NEPZA is supposed to be on top of its game in terms of promoting investment. The strategies to industrializing the country as it is with other countries must be people friendly. You have to know your stakeholders very closely to meet their needs and make them happy.
``This is the core mandate of both NEPZA and NIPC. 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.
``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 substantial portion of 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.
The NEPZA boss also explained that: ``we must change our approach to doing things. This period requires extra-ordinary approaches to grab our share of the market’’.
``From the Private Sector perspective, the greatest hindrance to investment is not government, it is not the President either. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari is desirous of doing going things, promoting investments and thank God, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otumba Niyi Adebayo has long caught the dream of his principal, the president as he continues to insist on us doing the right things’’.
``Let me state here that our greatest problem actually lies with the inability of those who should implement the policies of government to achieve the set goals. We must come to the realization that the public sector which NEPZA is part of was set up to make the private sector thrive and to lead the industrialization process of the country,’’ he further said.
Adesugba, therefore, said NEPZA’s main aim under his leadership would be to collaborate more expansively with the private sector and all agencies of government involved in Free Trade Zones and Special Economic Zones to spike influx of investments in the country.
``NEPZA is more than before prepared to leverage on the NIPC platform to commence aggressive investment drive, and we seek the leadership of NIPC to always guide us on the positive path in our drive to ensure the country’s economic becomes more robust Post Covid-19 pandemic’’.
``We are bound to follow what President Muhammadu Buhari has asked us to do to grow the country’s revenue base. So, our visit is simply to seek the support and understanding of the commission to assist us galvanise the buying-in of relevant agencies and investors to achieve our mandate,’’ Adesugaba said.
On her part, Sadiku expressed delight on the appointment of the new NEPZA boss, as according to her, he is a proven technocrat with the right wealth of knowledge to carry NEPZA to the zenith.
The NIPC boss vowed to support the Authority to ignite the right approaches to attract and maintain investors, adding that NEPZA had a great platform to drive the country’s industrialization to 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 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,’’.
The construction of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited’s $3.3 billion Egina floating production, storage and offloading, FPSO, vessel has reached 98 per cent, thus raising hope for the completion of $16 billion Egina project.
Investigations, weekend, showed that many aspects of the project, including design, fabrication and welding, have been completed. Officials of Samsung Heavy Industries – Mega Construction Integration Free Zone, (SMI-MCI FZE), jointly established by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and LADOL Integrated Logistics Enterprise were seen working to complete the remaining two percent of the project.
Despite all the hype, the Tolaram Group, an international private consortium and promoters of the Lagos Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), has said that even as more investors are indicating interest in the massive developmental project, only four industries have commenced operations in the Zone.
The consortium said so far, it has a combined project value investment of about $150million for the development of the four factories, while it plans to invest more funds as new industries spring up at the facility.
The factories include the TG Arla, manufacturers of Dano Milk; Palm Oil Refinery, producers of power oil; Cereals and Kellogs Production Company and the Insignia Technology Prints.
The Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL), has disclosed that it is investing in a gas fired power plant, which will be built in phases.
The Managing Director, LADOL, Amy Jadesimi, dropped the hint during a tour by a team from the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to the base.