Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr Bitrus Dawuk, has expressed satisfaction on President Muhammadu Buhari’s special commitment toward ensuring effective and efficient management of the free zone scheme for economic recovery and growth post-COVID-19.
Dawuk said this at the weekend in his presentation, entitled “Seeking New Frontier for Repositioning NEPZA for Maximum Investor Attraction and Retention in Post-COVID-19 Era, via Webinar online conference, organised by a Dubai-based free zone training and management consulting company, CTP International, for selected industry experts across the world.
The NEPZA boss said the Authority was enthused by the president’s special interest to ensure the scheme surmount all prevailing challenges so as to leverage on the opportunities provided by the scheme to accelerate attraction of Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) into the country.
Dawuk explained that he was however not surprised by Buhari’s support for NEPZA and the entire operations of free zone in the country, adding that the Federal Government’s former subtle reservation toward the sector changed when the president made a state visit to China to have an on-the-spot assessment of Chinese free zone model.
He stated that the Authority had enjoyed considerable increase of budgetary allocation since the president discovered the need to support the sector to perform optimally, stressing that his exposure to the Chinese free zone scheme had positively rubbed off on NEPZA and the country free zone as a whole.
Meanwhile, Dawuk said the COVID-19 presented both challenges and opportunities for free zones world-wide.
He explained that the current era had also challenged the manufacturing value addition of free zone enterprise and disrupted the global supply chain. The acting CEO added that the pandemic presented opportunities in the area of international trade and production as most manufacturers around the world were looking to diversify the supply chains.