By Chris Ndibe
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, has
inaugurated the Transactions Implementation Committee (TIC) for the reforms of Calabar and Kano Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Members of the committee were drawn from the ministry, NEPZA, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and BPE, among others.
At the ceremony in Abuja, he said the private sector investment in the Nigerian economy, especially the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), would reduce government’s financial burden.
The ceremony was reported in a statement by Mr Haruna Ibrahim, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations Unit of the ministry, said that SEZs investment would reduce associated business risks.
According to Adebayo, the private sector will also introduce innovative ideas to the management and operational frameworks of SEZs.
The minister said that such investment would bring about improved performance in the areas of employment generation, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and export promotion.
Adebayo said that there were presently 34 SEZs in Nigeria of which Kano and Calabar SEZs were owned by the Federal Government.
He said that the rest were either privately-owned or joint venture between private and respective state government.
He noted that SEZs had been pivotal in the economic growth and development of several countries, namely; South-East Asia and Southern America including China, India, Brazil and Mexico, using private sector to drive the nation’s industrialisation and economic growth.
The minister added that the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) was established by Decree No. 63 of 1992 to handle the responsibilities of licensing, regulating and promoting free trade zones in Nigeria.
Adebayo urged members of the committee to work assiduously for the accomplishment of the task ahead.
He was optimistic that the proposed concession transaction of the zones would cause a major revitalisation of the Calabar and Kano SEZs and would serve as a catalyst for transforming them into World Class Standard.
Also, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh, emphasised the critical importance of carrying out the national assignment.
He said that the Kano and Calabar Economic Zones were important to the industrial development of the country.
Okoh stated that the two zones would improve export promotion; a good source for FDI and economic growth and development of Nigeria.