The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has thrown its weight behind the Ekiti State Government for the establishment of Knowledge-based and Agricultural Special Economic Zone in the state.
The NEPZA Managing Director, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, expressed the willingness to license the proposed zone when Governor Kayode Fayemi paid him a visit on Friday in Abuja.
In a statement dated September 5, 2020, and signed by Mr Martins Odeh, Head Corporate Communications, NEPZA, Adesugba described Fayemi as a visionary leader who executes every project in his coffer.
The NEPZA boss said, “Thank you, sir, for coming here. It is very important for us to realize that investments and industries are located in destinations, and in localities.
“For us to be really industrialised, we have to go down to the basics, down to the local government, down to states.
“While the Federal Government will continue to assist and develop policies that will turn states to develop in terms of industrialisation, we should leverage on the special economic zones and free trade zones as have been successfully used in places like China, Dubai, Ethiopia and Turkey.”
According to Adesugba, developing economies all over the world are using this strategy to fast track industrialisation, adding that state governors should key into the scheme.
“I am not surprised that the government in 1992 thought it was a relevant strategy for the country to use. NEPZA will continue to partner with states such as yours to actualise the aspiration of establishing this well thought out Knowledge-based and Agricultural Special Economic Zone for the state,” he said.
Adesugba further explained that it was evident that the governor had a clear understanding of how to utilize the strategy of the special economic zone to deepen the industrialisation of the state, saying the Authority was open to supporting the process.
On his part, Governor Fayemi expressed delight to meet with the NEPZA boss, a visit he said, was an opportunity to congratulate him on his new appointment.
Fayemi said NEPZA was a very critical vehicle in the country’s quest to attract investments, local production, industrialization as revenue generation through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“We all talk about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) all the time, we all talk about creating an enabling environment, but to ensure that these happen, we must think outside of the box in order to drive the process in our localities. It is indeed crucial that we recognise and disaggregate those investments in terms of sub-national opportunities at the state level.
“For us in Ekiti, we arguably have comparative advantages in the areas of scholarship and agriculture. We are very keen on our knowledge economic agenda to have a status of a special economic zone which is going to be the first service-oriented zone.
“There are other types of economic and free trade zones that NEPZA is licensed and authorized but a service zone that is based on knowledge is not common and for us in Ekiti, that is what we sell,” Fayemi said.
According to him, the zone will be one that is primarily directed to a knowledge economy, knowledge production and knowledge generation for the country.