By Raphael Ekpang
The acting Director General of the Nigeria Export Processing Zone, Authority (NEPZA ), Terhemba David Nongo has said that the agency needs adequate funding to operate optimally.
Nongo made this disclosure on Monday when he led his team to appear before the senate committee on trade and investment for 2020 budget defence.
According to him, the federal government has to pump money into the agency so that in the next five years the agency will in turn transform the country because by then the agency will be generating enough to carter for itself and remit enough to the government coffer.
He noted that Nigeria is on advantage to develop our free zones because we have a coaster area that covers over 500km of the coaster area, stressing that we have inland water ways that is of great advantage to the country than most countries that have developed their free trade zones and are enjoying the proceeds now.
According to him, the Ethiopian Government spent over 300 million dollars to construct three industrial parks whereas they have more than 12 functional free trade zones. Hence, he added that Ethiopia were able to spent much because their land is not interlock on like Nigeria.
“Our land is interlock, such a coaster area with almost 500 km; hinterland water ways that we can improve upon; we have River Niger and River Benue which we can transport some of our product from the free zone into the sea.
“We ought to have at least ten functional federal government funded free trade zones in this country and not one. Meanwhile, we have about three free zones in Lekki, Sokoto and Abakilike we have designed to start reconstruction with before the remaining ones.” Nongo posited.
Meanwhile, he concluded by saying that Ethiopia earns 1billion dollars annually for their free trade zones.