Written by Sarah NEGEDU

FG targets $15bn FDI from 4 trade zones

 

A minimum of $15billion worth of Foreign Direct Investment could be attracted into the Nigerian economy from the four trade zones recently established in the country, the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, has said.

Mr Emmanuel Jime, Managing Director of NEPZA told Commerce and Industry Correspondents in Abuja that only 15 out of the 39 trade zones in the country are currently operational.

He said applications for the establishments of additional zones to boost the economy of the country are undergoing various processes.

“NEPZA has so far licensed 39 free trade zones spread across the country. Of the 39 free trade zones, I regrettably inform that only 15 are truly up and running. The rest are at various stages of construction and operationalization.

“Of these 39, four of them were established recently during the course of my stewardship here. These four zones that were established recently under our watch are reputed to have the capacity of attracting about $15billion worth of foreign direct investment.

“There are many other applications, the last time I checked,  close to 10 are either somewhere in the office of the minister leading up to Mr President office or  waiting for president declaration,”  he said.

Jime said that infrastructural challenges, inter-agency rivalry, location, change of government at the state level were some of the problems affecting the full take off of some of the trade zones.

Jime said only the President has the power to create a trade zone after an application.

He said the present administration has increased the funding for capital projects by the agency with N50 billion allocated each for the 2017 and 2018 budgets out of which N20 billion was accessed in 2017, while not less than N5 billion has so far been released from the 2018 allocation.

“Since its inception, it is under President Muhammadu Buhari that NEPZA is receiving its biggest funding for capital allocation. In 2017 about N50billion was allocated to this authority although because of the budget process the Authority was only able to access N20billion that was cash-backed.

“This year another N50billion was allocated and the last time I checked we were only able to access N5billion.”

 

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