President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for the establishment of seven new industrial parks to support the Nigerian Industrial Revolution plan, an official said on Thursday.
The Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Exports Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Terhemba Nongo, said the parks would be located in each of the country’s six geo-political zones.
In a media chat on Wednesday, Mr. Nongo listed the locations of the parks to include Lekki in Lagos; Makurdi in Benue State; Benin, Edo State; Ilorin, Kwara State; Sokoto; Gombe and Abakiliki in Ebonyi.
He said the Free Trade Zones (FTZs) in Ilorin, Makurdi, and Sokoto are almost completed.
He said the government would be able to attract ‘the right investments’ by the time the infrastructural development, which will soon be provided for the project, is completed.
“Each of the zones would provide a minimum of 50,000 direct jobs for the country, thus giving a total of 350,000 direct jobs for the seven of them. In terms of indirect jobs, the zones can create about one million jobs for the country.
“These new industrial parks in the works would spike infrastructure development and unleash a new wave of job opportunities for our teeming youths. It is worth stressing that with every free zone or industrial park licensing, the door is open for serious infrastructure development,” the Nation quoted Mr. Nongo as saying.
He also threatened that the licences of inactive FTZs in the country be revoked.
He said going by the importance of Free Trade Zones in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and economic diversification, the “government will no longer watch the laxity at which those given the licenses are treating the zones”.
“We have three types of investments in Free Trade Zones. We have private development by the zone run by private sectors.
“We have a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which is between the government and the private sector. We also have public zone which is owned by the government.
“The challenges we are having in the Free Trade Zones are the ones owned by the state governments. We are talking with them and the response is a little bit encouraging,” he said.
He said the agency had given some of the state-owned FTZs timelines and “if they don’t start within the next year, their licenses will be revoked”.
He, however, said the Centenary Economic City, Tomaro, and Abuja Technology village are not among the ‘inactive zones’.