By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – In a bid to spike influx of both local and international investors, the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) have agreed to partner to attract investments to the 41 free trade zones in the country.
The collaboration of the two agencies was made known in Abuja on Tuesday when the new Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba paid a courtesy visit on the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Yewande Sadiku.
Prof. Adesugba said it was imperative 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.
According to Adesugba in a statement made available to journalist in Abuja, “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 statement signed by Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, also quoted the NEPZA boss 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.
Adesugba, while highlighting some of the factors that militated against the implementation of Federal Government Policies, said several government agencies were liable for not interpreting those policies in line with government’s expectations.
“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 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.
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 zedrive
Sadiku, while assuring the support of NIPC to attract the right investors to the free trade zones, said 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 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.