Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has given the nod for the establishment of six Satellite Industrial Centres across the country.
The move is geared to propel government’s efforts on diversification of the economy which has over relied on oil.
The industrial centres, will be anchored by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA ), the and is expected to commence immediately after the passage of the 2017 budget.
Speaking with Journalists in Lagos, the new Managing Director, NEPZA, Mr Emmanuel Jime said the establishment of these centres will serve as a catalyst for the promotion of backward integration.
“What the present administration desires is for the economy to fully diversify and this is the reason why the president has ordered the creation of the Satellite Industrial Centres in each of the six geo-political zones across the country.
“ And for this to happen, NEPZA has been given the directive to anchor this and it will take effect as soon as the budget is passed,” Jime said.
Jime who took over the helms at NEPZA last week, said the agency will do everything to put the country in the right direction with the diversification of the economy through manufacturing for domestic market and export.
“As we know, NEPZA is a creation of Act 63 of 1992 , with the mandate to licence, regulate and monitor free zones in Nigeria.
“ Our plan now is to focus on the generation of employment, technology transfer and skill acquisition. Also, we will do everything to attract more Foreign Direct Investment through aggressive marketing,” Jime said.
Jime said creating an attractive environment for manufacturers through measures such as tax breaks, export incentives and finances, is high on the government’s agenda in line its broader aim of increasing local production.
“ Producers need assurance that if they produce locally, their products will enter the local value chain, and we are creating right conditions for that to happen,” he said.
He added that NEPZA will work hand in hand with other sister agencies so as to ensure smooth operations for manufacturers.
Jime said the primary engine for growth and development of any economy is the organised private sector, while government is required to provide the enabling environment. This, according to him, could be in the form of appropriate intervention viz, legal framework, policies and programmes that will support investment, provision of physical infrastructure like power and road network, security and a stable polity, among others.
“Moreover, since we operate a mixed economy, the government is required to intervene in the provision of social amenities or services, where it is proven that if left entirely for the organised private sector, the cost will be too heavy for the average consumer to bear,” he said.