By Chris Ndibe
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has sought partnership of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to spike local and International investors to the 41 Free Trade Zones nationwide.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA Managing Director, requested for the collaborative effort on Tuesday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit on NIPC’s Executive Secretary, Yewande Sadiku.
Adesugba, according to a statement signed by Mr Martins Odey, Head, Corporate Communication, NEPZA, said robust partnership between the two organisations would be an antidote to several encumbrances hindering 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 industrialising the country, as it is with other countries, must be people-friendly.
“You have to 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 this is why we 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 industrialisation process because all the incentives are supposed to be there,’ he said.
He noted that the collaborative efforts with NIPC would be magnetic and very inclusive because NIPC had the mandate to assist in attracting and maintaining investments by supporting NEPZA’s service delivery process.
Adesugba said ordinarily, NIPC should be the watchdog to ensure that other agencies under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment were positioned to comply with best global industry practices.
He said it was vital to position Nigeria to grab substantial portion of the world’s investment post COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the world will seek investments after the pandemic and the process will be highly competitive.
“We must change our approach to doing things. This period requires extra-ordinary approaches to grab our share of the market,’’ he said.
Adesugba highlighted some factors that militated against implementation of federal government policies.
He said several government agencies were liable for not interpreting those policies in line with government’s expectations.
According to him, from the private sector perspective, the greatest hindrance to investment is not government, it is not the President either, but the agencies are liable.
“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 realisation that the public sector, which NEPZA is part of, was set up to make the private sector thrive and to lead the industrialisation 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 boost investments.
Sadiku, on her part, expressed delight on the appointment of the new NEPZA bos.
She said he was a proven technocrat with the right wealth of knowledge to carry NEPZA to the zenith.
The NIPC boss promised to support the authority to ignite the right approaches to attract and maintain investors.