Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The N100 billion made available by the Federal Government assisted in no small way to give the Kano free trade zone a lease of life after a 15-year non-completion of the project, the acting Director General of the Nigeria Export Processing Zone, Authority (NEPZA ), Terhemba David Nongo ,has said.
The Ag DG who was addressing the media yesterday in Abuja on the activities of his organisation revealed that in 2017, he travelled to Ethiopia in company of former minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Okechukwu Enelemah; former Director General of NEPZA, Mr. Jime, to Ethiopian industrial park to understudy the Ethiopia industries park which occupied more than 30 square metres in a lonely place where the government has to construct a rail line to reach.
According to him, the Ethiopian Government has to construct three industrial parks with each costing N100 billion which is exactly what President Buhari wanted us to do. This is exactly what we are intending to do in Calabar and the Kano Export processing zone, which will create employment opportunities when completed. Presently the Federal Government has established industrial parks in several zones in the country, which, according to him, will provide 350 indirect jobs and yield more foreign exchange.
Nongo disclosed that the Authority has now been well funded by the present administration, adding that the authority has no reason not to succeed. He stated that within two years, the organisation will complete four trade zones. However, he fingered the issue of power failure as an impediment, but said they would provide 15 mega watts of power at 15 million each, while Calabar and Kano will benefit.
The first export free zone was established in Calabar in 1992. But, initially, the funding was poor although there was legal framework but no infrastructure.
“In 1994 General Sani Abacha declared Kano a free zone. But 15 years after, it was not completed. And when Buhari came, only the fence was made. He went to China and was advised to develop the free zone for economic emancipation,” he said.