The federal government is targeting $68.1bn fresh Foreign Direct Investment from eight newly licensed free zones, the managing director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Gbenga Kuye, has said.
He said the enhanced efficiency of the agency, in line with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, had helped to fast-track approvals for zones, based on the new checklist and methodology put in place for assessing requests.
Kuye, who spoke to journalists in Abuja yesterday, said the investments attracted already, and the incoming ones that had been sealed, provided a solid foundation for a stronger economy and greatly improved standard of living for Nigerians.
He stated, “Based on the new checklist and methodology put in place for assessing Free Zone requests, the president approved the following: Centenary City Free Zone (Business and Tourism Destination), with expected investment of about $18bn; Ogogoro Industrial Park, Lagos (oil and gas activities) $160m; and the Nigeria International Commerce City, Lagos, (formerly Eko Atlantic City), $38bn.
“Others are Badagry Creek Industrial Park, Lagos, $1.3bn; Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Free Zone, $25.5m; Dangote Refinery/ Petrochemical Park, $9bn; Lekki Deep Sea Port (under Lagos Free Trade Zone) $1.4bn, and Samsung Heavy Industries and Mega Construction Integrated FZE (under LADOL Free Zone), $300m.”
The managing director added that NEZPA was currently at advanced stages for the approval of the proposed Kogi Industrial Park and was also presently consulting with the Cross Rivers State government on the establishment of an Automotive Industrial Cluster in the state.
“This is sequel to a bilateral relation agreement between Nigeria and Japan, where Japan has proposed to help develop an auto industrial cluster in Calabar. This is being done in conjunction with the National Automotive Council. Consultations are also ongoing for the revamping of the Idu Industrial Area located in Abuja,” he stated.
Kuye noted that since he assumed office in 2013, the agency had undergone a massive transformation characterised by the restructuring of its organogram to reflect the new NEPZA “which is to be driven largely by in-depth research and excellent investor relations.”
He said, “In order to complement the directives of the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment in putting in place a robust methodology for assessing investors’ applications for Free Zone status and a rigorous method of process engineering to enhance efficiency and productivity, we have been able to reduce the delays which usually characterised the operations of the Authority.
“A major characteristic of the old NEPZA was the frosty relationship the Authority had with other regulatory agencies. The feud, which had hitherto engulfed the management of NEPZA and some other agencies, has been laid to rest while NEPZA staff members are more equipped for their jobs than ever before with competitive staff welfare packages.”
He noted that the need to review the NEPZA Act CAP N107 LFN 2004 also became imperative as the Act hampered the full realisation of the Authority’s mandate and also hampered the Authority from taking its place as an industrialisation agency in line with the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.
“In view of this, the Agency has embarked on the review of the Act which is currently at the National Assembly with a view to amending it and getting it passed as soon as possible,” he said.