Why we must develop special Economic Zones for Nigeria’s Industrialisation-Minister
London, Dec. 25, 2018 (AltAfrica)-The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has stressed the importance of developing special economic zones by the federal government.
The ministry, in a statement, said its attention was drawn to a media statement on the development of the zones.
It recalled that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identified the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as a major strategic tool to accelerate the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
According to the statement, project MINE (Made in Nigeria For Exports) was therefore envisioned by the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (MITI) and the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), to develop SEZs to world class standards and position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa and a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally
Among others, the project sought to aid structural transformation of the Nigerian economy by increasing the manufacturing sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product to 20 per cent by 2025; contribute to sustainable inclusive growth by creating 1.5 million new manufacturing jobs in the initial phase of the project and increase and diversify foreign exchange earnings by increasing manufacturing sector exports to at least $30 billion annually by 2025.
Others include the creation of local models of global best practice in provision of world class infrastructure at competitive costs connecting SEZs to international and regional markets with transport links, uninterrupted power, ICT, water, sewage and other services to ensure smooth and efficient operation of SEZ businesses; promote the “cluster” effect to be gained by locating similar export-oriented manufacturing businesses within the same locality and attract world class investors with strong positions in global supply chains and investors with potential to increase the scale of operations rapidly to set up operations in SEZs.
“The first phase of the project is to focus on the development and upgrade of SEZs in 12 states across Nigeria, following which the initiative will be extended to other States in subsequent phases.
“This involves, among others, partnering with the private sector to develop new world-class SEZs in Abia, Katsina and Lagos as pilot projects to demonstrate proof of concept and provide models for future SEZ development Nigeria.
“On governance, oversight of the project rests with the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, supported by the Honourable Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary, who comprise the leadership of MITI.
“The leadership of MITI is supported by a Project Steering Committee (SteerCo), with membership drawn from a cross section of stakeholders, set up to support project oversight, governance and implementation.
“It meets on a regular basis to review progress of project implementation, proffer advice and assist in problem solving.
To this end, on June 2018 the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited (NSEZCO) was set up as the special purpose vehicle to deliver project MINE and harness the federal government’s spending on the SEZs.