From: Sisi Ochigbo, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday signed investment agreements with three Development Finance Institutions; Afreximbank, Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for the development of special economic zones in the country.
In a statement signed by the Strategy and Communications Adviser, to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Bisi Daniels, President Mohummadu Buhari who presided over the signing ceremony assured that the special economic zones will become operational soon.
The President noted that it is to witness the signing of investment agreements, following which the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited will become fully operational. The Government sets up NSEZCO Limited as a vehicle for participating in Public-Private Partnerships involving Federal, State and local, including foreign private investors to develop new Special Economic Zones all over the country, offering world class infrastructure and facilities at competitive costs. The projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park.
The three DFIs are among the five to partner with NSEZCO and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated. NSEZCO intends to raise at least US$500million in equity over the first five years in order to execute its ambitious strategy of becoming a leading investor in special economic zones in the country. The other investment partners are African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
Called Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Exports) the development of special economic zones under the direct supervision of the President Muhammudu Buhari, is a Presidential special priority intervention aimed at using the zones to attract substantial foreign and domestic investment for the development of world-class facilities dedicated to export-oriented manufacturing in a range of industries across Nigeria.
Project MINE seeks to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa and as a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally; as well as boosting manufacturing’s share of Gross Domestic Product to 20 per cent; generating $30bn in annual export earnings; and creating 1.5 million new jobs all by 2025.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, President Buhari said the Federal Government set up the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited as a vehicle for participating in Public Private Partnerships involving Federal and State governments and local and foreign private investors to develop new Special Economic Zones all over the country. He said, the projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park.