By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – The Acting Managing Director of the Nigeria Exports Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr Terhemba Nongo, on Wednesday threatened to revoke the license of inactive Free Trade Zones in the country.
Mr Nongo further said about 350,000 direct jobs as well as over a million indirect employment opportunities would be created when the seven Economic Free Trade Zones (EFTZs) aacross the country are fully operational with world-class infrastructure and investments.
Mr Nongo, was speaking at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.
He said that any free trade zone in the country that remained inactive within the next one year would have its licence revoked by the government.
According to him, there are about 20 inactive free trade zones in the country. Some of which are Ibom Science and Tech Free Zone located in Akwa Ibom State , Olokola Free Trade Zone in Ondo amd Ogun State, Living Spring Free Zone in Osun State, Abuja Technology Village Free Zone, Centenary City in Abuja , Enugu Industrial Park , Tomaro Industrial Park in Lagos, Ogogoro Industrial Park in Lagos, and Oluyole Free Zone in Oyo among others.
On the 350,000 direct jobs, and over a million indirect employment opportunities, the NEPZA boss explained that lack of funding by previous administrations had constrained the viability of both Kano and Calabar free trade zones.
He assured that President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration has since inception improved funding of the free trade scheme with total budgetary support totalling N100 billion.
He said the funds had been used in upgrading facilities in Calabar free trade zone as well as completing Kano free trade zone, which would soon be ready for commercial operations.
He explained that provision of power remained the major obstacle in the operation of both Kano and Calabar zones, adding that about $15 million was required to provide 15 megawatts of power to the duo.