• Monday, July 15, 2024
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FTZs in Nigeria should provide over 100,000 jobs by 2035 — NEPZA, MD

FTZs in Nigeria should provide over 100,000 jobs by 2035 — NEPZA, MD

Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Adesoji Adesugba, has said that the development and utilization of Free Trade Zones Schemes (FTZS) in Nigeria should provide over 100 thousand jobs by 2035.

Adesugba said this during a press briefing in Abuja where he said as the country’s population increases significantly every year, FTZS should be leveraged to cater to the teeming population.

“We are expecting that by 2035, we should be having over 100 thousand people employed there indirectly and directly about five thousand people, and its going to have an impact on more than 10 million other people,” he said.

Adesugba said to achieve this, there is need for more investments and major economic interventions in the FTZs to achieve this, adding that it has to be planned and strategic by engaging youths, upskilling them, utilising technology etc.

Speaking to claims by the Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, that the federal government is sabotaging efforts for his state to get a FTZ licence he said the president has treated everyone equally under his economic development agenda using the free zone scheme.

“Regardless of the party or state, The federal scheme has been applied generally as a strategic economic development tool and I am not sure we have a record of Akwa Ibom applying however we are inviting them if they desire to have a free zone,” he said.

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He added that NEPZA has worked closely with states like Delta state ,Borno state, Sokoto state which will soon establish its FTZ, Ekiti state has also applied and we are welcoming any state receptive to the economic agenda under the FZ scheme.

“We are working with every state in Nigeria and it’s our desire that the scheme is replicated in every state, it will only improve the economic development in the country,” he said.

He said China has over 1300 of such schemes while Africa has just 240 and under NEPZA there are about 46 FTZ of which only 30 are actually working as the President has just approved some.

He urged states and private investors to consider using and utilizing the scheme, noting that it already has investments worth between $25 to $30 billion.

“With FTZ development, more people will be employed, there will be increased infrastructure development, technology and knowledge exchange,” Adesugba added.

Adesugba who also urged universities in the country to take part in the scheme which he said will encourage knowledge-based productive activities in tertiary institutions.

He revealed that plans are underway to establish a free zone at the University of Abuja, which will be the first of its kind.

He said with its proximity to the FCT airport, the city centre as well as the availability of 11,800 hectares of land and other key resources, it’s a goldmine with lots of potential and afterwards it will be the richest University in Africa.

The NEPZA boss said that the authority would work with the university and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce is pragmatic about the project and will work to bring industries closer to the students.

He said that the university, NEPZA and Abuja Chamber of Commerce will it will be a symbiotic relationship between the university and the industries, infused with research and purpose based.

”Interns and university students having access to knowledge based productive activities will also come into place,” he said.