Tweaking Nigeria’s FTZs’ susceptibilities
Sir: Gradually, the grandiloquence narrations of the acclaimed outright under-performance of the Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones’ concept in the last 29 years of its adoption to drive the country’s industrialisation is being obliterated by new crop of data mavens using the latest digital infrastructure to capture, analyse and measure the contributions of this concept to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and national growth more succinctly.
Indeed, the Federal Government having seen the way and manner China, Dubai in the United Arab Emirate and the western world had leveraged on this global economic model to speed up their socio-economic growth, embraced it in 1992 with an enactment that bestows NEPZA with the sole powers to monitor and manage the structure.
Successive management teams of the Authority had ensured that this concept that provides the filaments for this special business ecosystem is guided; leaving the country with two public zones and 43 private zones harbouring over 500 enterprises with cumulative investments worth over US 20 billion dollars, and accelerating employment generation hovering around 50,000 direct jobs and about 100,000 indirect jobs respectively.
Now with Prof. Adesoji Adesugba in the saddle as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, a more resilient and result oriented monitoring and management strategies are being deployed to reposition the zones’ operation for effective monitoring and measuring of the various contributory indices to national growth.
Adesugba, a thoroughbred Professor of Business Administration and a tested Investment Promoter, has in the last one year focused on unmaking and tweaking the nation’s free zone susceptibilities by also widening the scope of search for innovation, business quality control mechanism and other forms of sophisticated approaches that could transform the country’s free zones into genuine business destination hot spots.
The public must come to the understanding that the free zone scheme is a global concept and not a Nigeria’s concept, and therefore, leaves us with no option but to strictly adhere to its modus operandi in order to fully reap from the structure.
Free Trade Zone refers to an area enclosed by a fence or wall with supervised entry and exit points where certain economic fiscal advantages are granted to facilitate world market trade,’’ Adesugba said.
More than anything else, the managing director is pained that much of the strides made by the Authority over the years toward the country’s economic growth were not properly captured in the nation’s GDP.
This underscores why NEPZA struck the long-awaited partnership with the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) in ensuring that data from zones and the Authority’s Headquarters are collated, computed and inputed into the national growth indices regularly.
This past one year of Adesugba as chief executive officer of NEPZA has truly been remarkable following his resoluteness in deconstructing inhibitive bureaucratic contexts that have prevented the country from reaping the great potentials of the free trade zone concept.
Martins Odeh is the head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA.