The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says it has attracted $346.6 million in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from 2020 to the first quarter of 2023 through the free trade zones scheme.
NAN reports that the Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said this at a briefing with Abuja’s Commerce and Industry Correspondents.
While giving an overview of his performance between 2020 and 2023, Adesugba said NEPZA also attracts N360.7 billion in local direct investments to the Nigerian economy during the same period.
The NEPZA boss said trade zones in the country generated 30,741 employees from 2020 to the first quarter of 2023, adding that skills transfer within the 39 months period was put at 8,157.
He expressed concern that out of 55 free trade zones in the country, only 30 are functional while others are being refurbished or constructed for operations.
According to him, Nigeria can do more by providing an enabling environment for trade zones to turn around the economic fortunes of the country.
“So far, we have 541 enterprises operating in the free trade zones, but we need to be more aggressive in making Nigeria’s free trade zones more enterprising as the target is to have at least 10,000 free trade zones.
“Ogun and Delta are already leading the way. It is important because these zones serve Nigeria and the African continent, with over 70,000 jobs being created,” he said.
Adesugba said NEPZA approached the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with a proposal to have a bank administer the operations and transactions at the free trade zones.
He expressed optimism that the CBN would approve the Authority’s proposal.
Adesugba also said efforts were in place to drive a robust free trade zone operation in Nigeria by liaising with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
According to him, NEPZA is working with the Nigerian Stock Exchange to have a speedy listing of companies of free trade zones on the stock exchange.
“All stakeholders have agreed, and we are only waiting for the endorsement of the Federal Ministry of Justice. The plan is to achieve this within the first 100 days of the administration of President Bola Tinubu,” he said