The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) is working out a partnership with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to encourage ease of investment at the 41 Free Trade Zones in the country. The Managing Director of NEPZA, Professor Adesoji Adesugba said this when he visited the Executive Secretary, Yewande Sadiku of NIPC in Abuja yesterday.
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. “NEPZA is supposed to be on top of its game in terms of promoting investment. The strategies to industrializing the country as it is with other countries must be people friendly. You must know your stakeholders very closely to meet their needs and make them happy. “This is the core mandate of both NEPZA and NIPC.
The two agencies have been under carrying out this onerous function and therefore need to work more closely to ensure the country continues to entice investments into those trade locations. “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 substantial portion of 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.
He said the agencies must change their approach to doing things explaining that this period requires extra-ordinary approaches to grab a share of the market. 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. “From the Private Sector perspective, the greatest hindrance to investment is not government, it is not the President either, the agencies are liable. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari is desirous of doing going things, promoting investments and thank God, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo has long caught the dream of his principal, the president as he continues to insist on us doing the right things.”
“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 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.
“NEPZA is more than before prepared to leverage on the NIPC platform to commence aggressive investment drive, and we seek the leadership of NIPC to always guide us on the positive path in our drive to ensure the country’s economic becomes more robust Post Covid-19 pandemic’’. “We are bound to follow what President Muhammadu Buhari has asked us to do to grow the country’s revenue base. So, our visit is simply to seek the support and understanding of the commission to assist us galvanise the buying-in of relevant agencies and investors to achieve our mandate,’’ Adesugaba said.
On her part, Sadiku expressed delight on the appointment of the new NEPZA boss, as according to her, he is a proven technocrat with the right wealth of knowledge to carry NEPZA to the zenith. The NIPC boss vowed to support the Authority to ignite the right approaches to attract and maintain investors, adding that 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 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.”