NEPZA to establish special economic zones for solid minerals

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By Joshua Olomu
Abuja, Oct. 7, 2020 Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Managing Director , Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the organisation is working toward establishing a special economic zone for solid minerals.

Adesugba made this known when officials of the Nigeria Chamber of Mines paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

According to him, the initiative is part of Federal Government’s poise to revamp the mining sector to enable it contribute more to national income.

He said that plans were underway for the establishment of four special economic zones in Lagos, Gombe, Kwara and Kastina with special consideration for solid minerals.

“These special economic zones when established will help to ignite activity in the sector and jobs will be created for our teeming youths while government rakes in revenues from the exportation of valued added minerals.

“At the moment, most of the export of minerals from the country is without value addition.

“It is our strategic thinking to change this narrative by using the zone to restore sanity, standard and compliance.

“We must emulate countries like South Africa, Ghana and Kenya that have taken their mining sector to an enviable height with substantial of their revenues coming from the sector.

“Nigeria can catch up with these countries faster if the special economic zone concept was activated for the sector.

“This would be in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewed vigour toward a holistic and coordinated exploration of mineral deposits for maximum contribution to the country’s GDP,” he said.

Adesugba said that like the free trade zone scheme, the solid minerals sector had the capacity to provide the country a long term economic safety net.

He said that all the 36 states including the FCT were known to at least have one form of commercially viable mineral deposit or the other.

According to him, Federal Government’s position is to ultimately deepen its collaboration with relevant stakeholders, especially the private sector in the quest to develop the sector for significant revenue generation for the country.

Earlier in his remark, Alhaji Sani Shehu, President of Nigeria Chamber of Mines congratulated the Adesugba for his appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of NEPZA.

He however said it was expedient to create special economic zones for solid minerals as the sector had the potential for job creation and revenue generation for government.

“I wish to observe that Nigeria is blessed with different categories of solid minerals as it has industrial minerals such as kaolin, limestone, dolomite, gypsum and metals such as tin, columbite, tantalite, iron ore, lead/zinc, among others.

“Our precious stones include tourmaline, sapphire, garnet, topaz, aquamarine and some of these minerals are export based as they are only processed to end-users through a complex manufacturing process, which we do not have locally at the moment.

“We therefore solicit for the creation of Minerals Export Processing Zone in order to build a proper structured minerals export venue which will attract both indigenous and foreign investors.

“It will make the country a prepared destination for mining, processing and export of solid minerals in the world,” he said.

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