The Managing Director of Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, has expressed the authority’s preparedness to canvass for the adoption of the export business accelerator programme by the Federal Government.
The programme will enable the rapid integration of Nigeria’s Small and Medium Enterprises into the Special Economic Zones scheme, thereby fostering economic growth.
Adesugba made this remark on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address during the 2021 World Intellectual Property Day Symposium held virtually.
He was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, Martins Odeh, as saying, “The management of NEPZA is willing to canvass the support and approval of Mr. President for definite and sustainable initiatives that can help in the growth and development of the national economy through the robust participation of the SMEs.”
The Managing Director added that the Authority is willing to partner with SMEDAN and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to develop a joint SEZ program for SMEs.
“In line with our plans to develop sectorial SEZs for different industries such as Medical SEZ, Agro-allied, Textile, etc, we may seek a strategic alliance with SMEDAN and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to develop a joint SEZ program for SMEs,” he said.
Adesugba cited Kenya as a good example of a country that has integrated its SME into the SEZ scheme through the export business accelerator program.
He added that one of the strategies to be adopted for export and industrial decentralisation is increasing exports of manufactured goods through the promotion of economic zones with fiscal and financial incentives.
Adesugba reiterated the FG’s commitment to ensure the sustenance of the zones scheme, adding that the special attention of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to the scheme was born out of his conviction that the scheme had the capacity to accelerate the country’s industrialization process.
He also said that the FG and NEPZA are fully committed to achieving the objectives of the export processing zones scheme which include promotion of job and wealth creation; foreign direct investment; technology transfer; foreign exchange earnings; backward integration and linkages.
Adesugba explained that as of December 2020, a total of 43 export processing zones have been established and are currently at different stages of development.
He added that the SEZ variant enabled a more comprehensive and all-inclusive economic zones model.
According to him, “It is now possible to have an SEZ where all kinds of economic activities can take place including but not limited to manufacturing, processing, trading, services, educational, health and other kinds of ancillary business activities.