By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, Sept. 4, 2020 The Ekiti State Government has sought the assistance of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to upgrade the Ekiti Knowledge Zone to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status.
Gov. Kayode Fayemi made this known on Friday in Abuja during a courtesy visit to Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Managing Director of NEPZA.
Fayemi requested to engage with NEPZA to ensure that the Ekiti Knowledge Zone, a service based innovative park attained the status of SEZ.
According to him, the state has started the process according to the law.
He described NEPZA as a critical vehicle in investment destination in the country as regards to Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
“It is also crucial that we begin to recognise those investments in terms of sub-national opportunities at the state level, especially in Ekiti State where many products are sold to the world,” he said.
The governor said that knowledge and agriculture were the two major products, which the state cherished and celebrated and were being sold to the world.
He said that in its knowledge economic agenda, it would like to have a knowledge based SEZ, a first service oriented being licensed and regulated by NEPZA.
” Ekiti is known as fountain of knowledge and there must be a way to continue to turn the knowledge into wealth in view of what COVID-19 has occasioned.”
Fayemi congratulated the NEPZA boss on his appointment and invited him to the governors forum to articulate the vision for the sector.
He said that the invitation was to discuss how the forum could assist in deepening NEPZA’s mandate and overall agenda of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
In response, Adesugba said that for Nigeria to be industrialised, there needed to be state and grassroots involvement, while the Federal Government continued to assist and develop policies to aid industrialisation.
He noted that the strategy of using Special Economic Zones had been successfully used by developing countries in the world, especially in China, Ethiopia and Turkey.
“The Federal Government will continue to partner with the state governments on utilising the strategy of SEZs to deepen the industrialisation in the states.
He also recalled and thanked the governor for assisting him then in the solid mineral sector in setting up the premier Gemological Institute of Nigeria which exposed the quantum of wealth inherent in the sector.
He said the institute had assisted in training various youths in gemology field to harness potential in the sector, adding that he would not relent to partner with the governor on any economic development.
The expert assured the governor of NEZPA’s support to showcase its possible ideas in the bid to actualise NEPZA’s core mandate.
Newsmen reports that SEZ is a conducive business and trade area located near national borders with different trade laws and economic regulations.
SEZ objectives are increase trade balance, employment, investment, job creation and effective administration