By Miriam Humbe
Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Engr. Terhemba Nongo has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has set the ground for the massive infrastructural transformation of the country through the licensing of seven Free Trade Zones to go into operation across the six geopolitical regions of the nation.
Information monitored on www.nepza.gov.ng quoted the Managing Director as saying that: “President Muhammadu Buhari has authorized the setting up of seven new Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the Six Geo-political Zones in the country.
“These are: the Lekki Garment & Textiles Park as well as the Special Economic Zones in Makurdi, Benue state; Benin, Edo state; Ilorin, Kwara state and Sokoto, Gombe, plus Abakiliki, the Ebonyi state capital.
“With the coming on stream of these new SEZs country-wide, what is bound to follow is large-scale infrastructural development in terms of power, water, roads, hotel chains, real estate etc.
“Until lately, NEPZA had 34 Free Zones, but in the last two years, we have licenced a number of more Free Zones. We now have 40 Free Zones including: Nasco Town Free Zone, Lagos, with expected capital investment of $2.1million; Quits Aviation Services, Ikeja, value estimated at $215million; and there is: Tomaro Industrial Park valued at $450million. All are in Lagos, and all of them target employment in the thousands.
“Together, these are bringing $2.8billion into the economy in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Nasco alone hopes to generate over 15,000 direct jobs. And you have the Dangote Free Zone, valued at about $12billion, and which promises to generate thousands of jobs. So, we are looking at 40 Free Trade Zones/Industrial Parks.
“But beyond this, the President has given us the authorisation to licence seven new, pilot industrial parks in each of the country’s geo-political zones. These new Special Economic Zones or Industrial Parks in the works would unleash a wave of job opportunities for our teeming youths. And let me add here that the three models of investment in the FZs are: Private, Public or a Combination of private and public partnership.
“I will say 14 are at the moment operational, the rest are still under construction, but the picture is looking good”.