NEPZA, FAAN partner to turn 4 Airports to special economic zones



NEPZA, FAAN partner to turn 4 Airports to special economic zones

By Emmanuella Anokam

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has assured the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of its willingness to cooperate in the development of world-class Special Economic Zones (SEZs)at four airports.

NEPZA also revealed that it has concluded plans to set up an implementation committee that will start working immediately and to develop a timeline with a clear structure within a short period of time.

Professor Adesoji Adesugba, director general of NEPZA, revealed it on Wednesday in Abuja, when Captain Rabiu Yadudu, director general of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), paid him a courtesy visit.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved the designation of four international airports across the country as SEZs.

Airports include: Murtala Muhammadu International Airport in Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Port Harcourt International Airport and Malam Aminu Kano International Airport.

Aviation Minister Hadi Saraki recently announced that the development is designed to harness the national infrastructure provided by the airport as a source of trade and services.

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that under the program NEPZA is to license FAAN to operate SEZs while NEPZA retains its regulatory roles.

Adesugba, while describing NEPZA as the government agency in charge of SEZs, described SEZs as an economically responsive enclave for efficient production, with availability of infrastructure and ease of doing business.

“The concept is not new; we have about 3,000 of these areas in China that she used to dazzle the world in terms of economic development and momentum that has occurred during that time.

“Between 1980 and 2000, China successfully used this concept to dazzle the world and become one of the fastest growing and developing economies in the world.

“There is no doubt that if we do this for Nigeria, the sky is not just the limit, we will reach the moon,” Adesugba said.

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the designation of the four international airports as SEZs, adding that it was indeed an economic revolution that would bring rapid development within these centers of economic activity. .

According to him, like most countries, Nigeria now falls into the group of countries that have airports like SEZs.

“We know what the zones have done in places like Dubai, Addis Ababa and Nairobi in Kenya where they have turned their airports into SEZs,” he said.

He added that these designated SEZs at airports in these countries have become markets where people do business that sometimes runs into billions of dollars.

“It is no longer fashionable to have airports as places where you just go on planes.

“With the designation of airports by the President, NEPZA and FAAN look forward to working together to create a model that will be one of the best in the world.

“It will be competitive, create jobs and deepen economic activities which will increase gross domestic product (GDP) and make Nigerians proud,” he said.

He assured FAAN of his cooperation, adding that his experts in management and concept of SEZs who work closely with the International Financial Cooperation (IFC) would help in the training of its staff and the development of its capacities.

Previously, the FAAN boss had pleaded with NEPZA for cooperation to improve the organizations’ mutual service delivery, as these were means where their operations and responsibilities overlapped in terms of service delivery.

“Nigeria is a very big country and we believe that for all government agencies to live up to this image and responsibility, they must also think, plan and act big.

“(We) want to work with NEPZA to improve its capacity and operations in terms of economic activities, especially in export processing zones.

“We are seeking your guidance, guidance and cooperation in ensuring that we develop our airport to become accredited and approved economic processing zones for both Nigerians and foreigners.

“It will create a lot of business and employment opportunities and more through exporting around the world.

“Airports are assets of national economic security, so anything you do with such assets that don’t translate into big decisions and progress in economic activity is a disservice.

“That’s why we want to discuss ways and means by which we can improve our airports to gain approval and accreditation. “

He expressed optimism that when FAAN increased its airports from 22 to 30, their accreditation would boost the country’s export momentum.

“So with 30 airports across Nigeria being accredited to operate an export processing zone, this is very important to us, it also eliminates the inconvenience of having companies coming in units for these operating licenses in the airport.

“We look forward to engaging with the NEPZA team for a more detailed level to achieve this.” (NAN)


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