21 February 2021 By Mathew Ayoola
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones, NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba says both the Federal Government and the Authority are leaving no stone unturned at leveraging on the African Continental Free Trade Zone Agreement, AFCTA, to boost the country’s trade zones’ competitiveness.
Prof. Adesugba, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of NEPZA stated this in Kano during a visit by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo of the Kano Free Trade Zone, KFTZ,
The NEPZA Managing Director reiterated that the AFCTA presented the country with an exceptional life line to reboot the economy noting that there was no better time to take advantage of the lofty opportunities provided by the agreement for countries in Africa to seamlessly trade among themselves.
According to him, all enterprises operating in the country’s 44 zones were being galvanised to use this trade agreement which commenced in January 1 to stay competitive and relevant
“The visit of His Excellency, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo to the Kano zone is a pointer to the Federal Government’s desire to use the zone as a gateway to swiftly revamp the economy and
the recent approval of N35.4 billion by the Federal Government for the improvement of electricity infrastructure in both Kano and Calabar free trade zones remains a stride that shows President Muhammed Buhari’s confidence in the scheme’s ability to fast track the country’s industrialization”Adesugba stated
He explained that the Authority remained grateful to both the President and the Minister for the great feat as Kano FTZ remained viable in spite of the power challenge
The Managing Director however described the challenge of accessing foreign exchange faced by operators in the zones as a result of absence of offshore banking, adding that it was high time the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, accelerated the approval.
“We are in touch with the CBN Committee saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the off-shore banking is in place, but we are, however, soliciting the intervention of the minister for approval to be given without further delay,’’ Adesugba said.
On his part, the Minister described the Kano free trade zone as one of the flagships of the country’s free zone scheme, stating that NEPZA had done a lot to keep the operations in the zone going and that the Authority must be supported to carry out its mandate effectively.
On the planned concession of the Kano and Calablar Zones, the Minister urged investors and operators in the two public zones not to fret, as according to him, their interests would be protected during the negotiation of the two deals.