Tinubu Will Use FTZs to Drive Economic Growth—Uwajumogu
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Special Adviser to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr John Uwajumogu, has said that the administration of Mr Bola Tinubu would be utilising the potential of Free Trade Zones (FTZs) to drive the country’s industrial aspirations.
Mr Uwajumogu made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Nigeria Economic Zones Association in collaboration with the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) to proffer solutions to challenges confronting the smooth operations of the sub-sector.
He said, ”The smooth operations of the scheme will accelerate the growth of the country’s economy.
”Also, initiating the right policies and proper implementation of the existing laws are critical in addressing the challenges affecting the free trade zones.”
Mr Uwajumogu further emphasised the importance of the Special Economic zones (SEZs) in driving the federal government’s development agenda.
“SEZs provide that tangible expression that will provide the needed policy to drive the industrial, trade and investments aspirations,’’ he said.
The aide also said that there was a need to promote local production capacity critical in enhancing export and attracting more investments.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr Tijani Kaura, described the roundtable as apt, saying that smooth operations of the SEZs were crucial in propelling Nigeria’s economy.
Presenting an overview of Free Trade Zones in Nigeria, the Managing Director of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, Mr Dinesh Rathi, highlighted the status, impacts and challenges for improved operations of the free trade zones.
Mr Rathi said that free trade zones had major roles to play in repositioning Nigeria as an economic hub.
He emphasised the need to review the NEPZA and OGFTZA acts with a view to meeting emerging trends.
On his part, the Managing Director of NEPZA, Mr Adesoji Adesugba, said there was a need to address aspects of the challenges impeding the growth of the free trade zones scheme.
He identified them to include incoherent policies, improper implementation of existing laws and overlapping mandates, as well as physical challenges such as roads and access to location.
Mr Adesugba assured investors of adequate security of their investments and the federal government’s determination to ensure that operators do business with ease.
”We have an agreement in place to provide the free trade zones, so investors should come because if we don’t live up to that agreement, investors will not come.
“And in today’s age, we need to make Nigeria competitive as a matter of urgency; we need to accelerate development, and this scheme can do it,’’ Mr Adesugba said.