Jigawa State Government and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) have agreed to revitalise the state’s Maigatari Export Processing Zone.
The duo agreed when the Jigawa State Governor, Umar Namadi, visited the Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the Namadi, the Free Trade Zone(FTZ) has numerous potentials and benefits to the people and the country at large and needs to be made operational.
The governor said: “We felt that we have a free zone that has been lying fallow for some years and we need to bring it into operation.
“And the best place we should start this process is NEPZA, so we made contacts and the managing director agreed to see us in such short notice.
“We came here to solicit for their expert advice on how we can bring our free zone into operation and to solicit for the MD’s support in terms of licences and registration fees.
“We know that we are owing the authority and we feel that he (Adesugba) should be able to allow us some leverage so we can stagger the payment and resume operations.”
According to Namadi, the free zone has a lot of potentials and it is going to contribute to the economic development of this country.
“In addition to giving lots of opportunities to our youths to get employed among other things.
“So because of that, it is necessary that we put it into operation, and you cannot do that without consulting experts and I think NEPZA is the best place to come.
“And that is why we are here. We are happy with the discussions we had with the MD and the fact that he is so committed to make the free zone work. So we think the visit is fruitful,” Namadi said.
On time frame, the governor expressed optimism that before the end of 2023 the FTZ should come into operation as everything necessary to make it work was available.
On security, Namadi said: “Jigawa is so far the safest state in Nigeria but we are also security conscious and making sure that investors and the state is well secured.
Responding, the NEPZA boss expressed the commitment of the Authority to support the state and all other states willing to drive trade and develop the country’s economy.
Adesugba said:“We have been trying to work with the state to activate that free zone because we see it as a critical infrastructure that could do a lot for that part of the country.
“So we cannot say more than we are happy and we are going to work straight away on our first meeting to determine and structure the way forward.
“The governor has given us ultimatum that before the end of this year we should make it work but you know of course that we have a track record.
“We have done it for Kano, Calabar free zone and we are confident that with the kind of Governor we have, working with NEPZA we will definitely deliver this reactivation programme within the shortest period of time.“
Our correspondent reports that some of the issues which the duo planned on discussing includes revitalisation of the zone’s infrastructure facilities and hibiscus sorting, grading and packaging.
Other areas are bulk breaking centres and warehousing facilities, payment of outstanding operational licence fees from 2017 to date and formation of steering committee to bring up recommendations within five weeks.