The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has said Nigeria’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are critical in achieving the country’s annual export target of $100 billion by 2035.
Adebayo who doubles as the chairman, National Action Committee on the African Continental Free Trade Area (NAC-AfCFTA), stated this yesterday in Abuja on the sideline of the conference and exhibition, marking the 30th anniversary of the free zones scheme.
Represented by a senior international trade policy and law expert at the NAC-AfCFTA Secretariat, Mr Olusegun Olutayo, the minister said: “For a country well-endowed in agricultural and mineral resources, an efficient Special Economic Zones Scheme in Nigeria is a critical success requirement for competition in the AfCFTA, as the ability of stakeholders to balance the competitiveness of SEZs operators and customs territory manufacturers means more gains for the nation.”
He reiterated that, “Nigeria would leverage existing potential in agriculture, industry, and services sectors to improve competitiveness and drive non-oil export expansion with a vision to grow the value of the country’s export to $100bn by 2035 in the AfCFTA market.”
The minister charged Special Economic Zones (SEZs) operators to maximise the opportunities in the AfCFTA market for economic growth and job creation, saying, “We must promote local content across every segment of the SEZ Scheme.”
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, Adesoji Adesugba, said currently, the agency exercises regulatory oversight on 46 free trade zones, out of which forty-four are private-owned and two are fully owned and managed by the authority on behalf of the government.
He said these free trade zones have provided employment opportunities and have attracted investments worth billions.