THE Nigerian government has recorded investment into the Free Trade Zone to the tune of $20 billion from 1992 to 2017.
Speaking to the media, the Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Engr Terhemba Nongo revealed that the Agency has attracted over $20bn foreign direct investments into the nation’s economy over the above stated period.
Nongo said during the 25-year period which the agency had been in existence, that about 40 industrial parks and over 400 Free Zones Enterprises had been licensed.
He also disclosed that the agency had been given approval by the President to set up seven new Industrial parks to support the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan of the government.
According to him, “these industrial parks would be located in each of the country’s six geopolitical zones.”
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Nongo said the new parks where to be sited in Lekki in Lagos; Makurdi in Benue State; Benin, Edo State; Ilorin, Kwara State; Sokoto; Gombe and Abakiliki in Ebonyi State.
“These new industrial parks in the works would spike infrastructure development and unleash a new wave of job opportunities for our teeming youths.
“It is worth stressing that with every free zone or industrial park licencing, the door is open for serious infrastructure development, and this is in terms of power, water as well as roads and even real estate, and hotels.”
Nongo explained that the government was creating more industrial parks as a model to stimulate investments in the free zones.
He stated further that the models are private, public or a combination of private and public partnership.
The NEPZA Boss lamented that the poor state of roads, as well as the absence of a functional rail system and Inland waters ways, were making the transportation of finished goods from the zones to the ports for exports difficult.
He, however, noted that with the current work in the rail sector, free zones would take advantage of the improved transport system to support the industrialisation of the country.