By Emmanuella Anokam
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment have agreed to strengthen synergy on critical roles aimed at expediting the country’s industrialisation process.
Mr Martins Odeh, the Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
He said the agreement was reached when Sen. Francis Fadahunsi, Acting Chairman of the committee led his colleagues to visit the Managing Director of the Authority, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba in Abuja.
Adesugba said that the role of the senate and the entire National Assembly in enabling the authority to reach its mandate “is very critical to us’’.
“This occasion is very important to me because I am sure you know I have just been recently appointed and this will be the first major interaction that I am having with your distinguished personalities.
“I have no doubt that we will be working very closely with your committee to ensure that NEPZA attains its objective in playing a very critical role in the industrialisation of Nigeria.
“We are all part of the downturn in the global economy and that also which is affecting Nigeria; we are looking in-house at the possibilities of NEPZA being a catalyst to propel the economy from where it is now,” Adesugba said.
The NEPZA boss said the negative impacts of the prevailing hash economic outlook brought by the COVID-19 pandemic could be quickly ameliorated using the strategy of free trade zone.
The managing director said that having looked at what was on ground, especially the Special Economic Zones created by government, it intended to commence full operations to create much needed employment and to spark genuine industrialisation.
“ I hope and pray that this committee helps galvanise the required support for the authority by taking us into consideration when issues relating to assisting us comes into play at the national assembly.’’
Fadahunsi had expressed delight in Adesugba’s appointment as the Chief Executive of the Authority, adding that President Muhamadu Buhari had picked the right person to reposition the authority.
“We are happy to be here and with your appointment we hope strongly with the cooperation of the ninth senate, things will move I believe because you have been an achiever.
“What we need in NEPZA is renovation upon renovation, infrastructural facilities for economic growth, just provide infrastructural facilities and security in the zones that can attract investors; they will come.
“You have to have synergy with security agency for whatever free zone you have created automatically people will be free to exercise their right there and things will move.
“We are ready to work with the executive arm and by extension, the authority to ensure whatever laws we are going to amend to assist you to bring innovation that will make you to do things differently is given priority,’’ the acting chairman said.
The acting committee chairman said the country was losing huge revenues from lack of foresight in the management of the free trade zone scheme.
“There is now a respite that you have come to manage the agency. We expect positive changes in many areas. We shall also support you in the creation of additional or new free trade zones.
“We will support such initiative as that will provide opportunities for our teeming youth population to be gainfully employed. Such development will help in taming the current high crime rate.
“On behalf of my distinguished colleagues, we welcome you on board as we urge you to come up with innovations and we are ready to partner with you so that Nigeria can get out of its lingering economy problem,’’ Fadahunsi said. (NAN)