The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and a cross section of stakeholders in the Free Trade Zones say the Federal Government would conserve huge resources if it allowed the private sector to drive the development of logistics infrastructure for the Lekki business corridor.
Officials of NEPZA and other stakeholders during the meeting.
Mr. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA opened the conversation on the subject matter while addressing participants at the 2022 NEPZA Annual Free Trade Zone Meeting in Lagos.
The annual meeting is an avenue where Zone Managements, Chief Executive Officers of Enterprises in the zones, top management staff of the Authority and free zones stakeholders take stock of the successes and challenges of their operations.
Adesugba, also the Chief Executive Officer of NEPZA, explained that the Lekki part of Lagos was arguably the country’s most profitable economic gateway as it warehoused some of the potentially great free zones that would drastically turn around the economic fortunes of the country in a few years.
The NEPZA boss said the government’s involvement in the construction of double carriage road along that axis was greatly commendable and acknowledged.
He however, noted that the government would save its hard-earned resources if it could completely divest its stake to the private sector for efficiency and profitability.
“I would like to reiterate that the federal government will not want a repeat of the experience of the Apapa Port on the Lekki corridor when the Deep-Sea Port and the Dangote Refinery become operational.
“We are already getting late, but the government could quickly salvage the situation by allowing the private sector to deliver world class multi-facet logistics infrastructure for easy evacuation of goods and services.
“The area requires standard rail infrastructure and double carriage way for heavy duty vehicles servicing all the zones located in that corridor.’’ Adesugba said.
Furthermore, all the participants were in agreement with the NEPZA boss, as according to them, the huge investments that sit on that corridor will not make any significant impact on the economy in the absence of smooth link with the corridor.
Meanwhile, Adesugba expressed delight witj the absolute support of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, that led to the Authority’s recorded success so far.
“Recall that the president at the just concluded 30th Anniversary of the Free Trade Zone in Nigeria and the 7th AEZO meeting publicly attested to the fact that NEPZA and the free zone scheme had positively contributed to the success and achievements of his economic policy.
“We are elated by this commendation and we can only be encouraged to do more to fast track the industrialization process.
“We have with the support of government, the zones’ management, and the staff of the authority, carried out a number of reforms and re-directed our strategy plan, resulting in the several successes we have recorded’’, he said.
The chief executive officer used the occasion to assure management of zones and other stakeholders of NEPZA’s readiness to continually protect their investments, adding that the Authority would assiduously work within its mandate to ensure that investors in the country’s free zone continued to harvest quality returns on their investments.