By Emmanuella Anokam
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has expressed readiness to collaborate with the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) to promote export processing in the country.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA’s Managing Director, said this when a delegation from NACCIMA, led by its National President, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, visited him on Wednesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the visit by delegation from NACCIMA, an umbrella body of the organised private sector in Nigeria was to seek NEPZA’s support in export processing and facilitation for its members.
Adesugba, while acknowledging NACCIMA’s pursuit of economic development said to improve functionality of existing Free Trade Zones, private sector collaboration was key to help boost investments and provide infrastructure support.
“This is our focus going forward. A collaborative engagement between NEPZA and NACCIMA is, therefore, very timely in view of NACCIMA’s role as the “Voice of Nigerian business” committed to leading Organised Private Sector (OPS) growth.
“By providing an enabling business environment to promote their business interests, whatever that may be. With over 60 years’ experience under its belt, NACCIMA is more than qualified to support NEPZA in this quest,’’ he said.
He, however, hoped that the organisations would work together towards achieving the industrialisation agenda and the economic development of the country.
Following Nigeria’s ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) late 2020, he said NEPZA sought to leverage on its opportunities to service the African market by increasing exports.
Accordingly, he said the goal of the AfCFTA resonated strongly with the aims and objectives of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in promoting trade and services.
He said that was why NEPZA was currently repositioning its SEZs strategy to support the Agreement.
“The Authority is implementing this by focusing its investment facilitation and capacity expansion on goods and services that the country has high comparative advantages.
“Additionally, there are several additional ongoing reforms aimed at improving efficiency of our zones and boosting exports.
“These include; Review and update of the NEZPA Act to accommodate new initiatives and goals. Realigning the required institutional arrangements and building the capabilities and capacities to deliver.
“It also focuses on overcoming infrastructural and logistics challenges such as access roads and power within zones.
“It seeks to reduce high operating costs within zones to support increased participation of Small and Medium Enterprises in the SEZ’s,’’ he said.
NACCIMA’s president earlier congratulated Adesugba on his well-deserved appointment as NEPZA chief executive officer and hoped that the collaboration would facilitate export in the sector as sought.
Aliyu said that the purpose of the visit by the association was to seek NEPZA’s support in export processing and facilitation for its members across the country. (NAN)