By Olajide Meseko
The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has reiterated its stance on providing wider business corridor for investors to access the country’s free trade zones.
The Managing of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba said on Tuesday in Abuja when the staff union members of the authority staged a peaceful demonstration to support his efforts in transforming NEPZA that revival and optimum utilisation of the free trade zones would lead the economic revolution needed in the country.
Adesugba, who emphasised the need to explore the benefits provided by the free trade zones to grow Nigeria’s economy, said it was critical in view of the need to revolutionise the economy.
According to him, free trade zones have revolutionised economies all over the world, and we must give it the needed support.
“The free zones in Lagos axis; you should go to Kano and you will see the infrastructure within the city and the free zone is going to metamorphose into something else shortly.
“We are going to revamp Calabar, all the dead factories that are there and we are going to push in new investments new capital into Calabar.
“The new zones that are coming up; this is the only thing that will galvanise Nigeria in such a way that we have not seen before in terms of employment, technology transfer and inflow of capital,’’ he said.
He said that exploring the free trade zones would also position Nigeria better for the benefits provided by African continental free trade regime.
“It is important to understand that Nigeria is going to have serious competition.
“Free zones are opening up in Benin, Togo, Ghana and there is a huge one being built in Egypt all targeted at African markets and Nigeria owes a substantial part of that market.
“And if we don’t brace up, our unemployment will deepen.
“So, we need to take advantage of what is happening now,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Samari Isah, Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NEPZA Unit, commended Adesugba for his efforts in promoting enhanced welfare for workers and transforming the authority.
“We are gathered here today to appreciate the good works the Managing Director is doing in NEPZA,” he said
He listed the acquisition of a NEPZA office in Lagos and offsetting of debt owed by the authority as some of the achievements.
Isah, who said that Adeugba was doing well in terms of staff welfare, however, appealed to the NEPZA boss to ensure a salary review and enhanced condition of service for NEPZA staff.