NEPZA commends LADOL’s Agric, Health Free Zone Initiative … Says firm’s infrastructure expansion strategic to Nigeria’s economy
The Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, has commended the LADOL Free Zone over its development of infrastructure and facilities for logistics, which are now being expanded to support a wide range of industries, saying that this is both strategic for the company and for Nigeria’s economy
Prof. Adesugba, who spoke when he made an official tour of the Zone Tuesday, said he was particularly impressed by LADOL’s expansion in attracting agricultural processing and healthcare companies into the zone, as well as partnerships with international companies such as Mammoet. He therefore expressed Federal Government’s support for the initiatives.
It is believed that these initiatives in addition to curtailing capital flight by checkmating medical tourism by Nigerians, would also greatly enhance the country’s foreign reserves.
“More than $1billion is spent by Nigerians going abroad for medical tourism every year and this is an opportunity for us now to ensure that nobody can travel to attract very good investment in this sector and to get the hospital to come very close to us in Nigeria by using the Free Zone strategy.
“This is one area we will be very happy to work with you LADOL. Also, the very important aspect of Agriculture Free Zone, I am happy that you are thinking in that direction”, Adesugba said.
He further explained that he assumed the leadership position of the agency at a time when COVID-19 pandemic was ravaging the world, necessitating a holistic strategy towards medical tourism using Free Zone approach in Nigeria.
In terms of agriculture, Prof Adesugba commended LADOL’s initiative in setting up more cold store facilities, which he suggested could also service the fishing industry in Nigeria. He also identified the initiative as a key opportunity for private sector, given the significant amount of fish Nigerians consume annually.
The Don, who had a long career in the Nigeria Customs Service before working with the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council NIPC, reiterated the importance of maintaining a harmonious, seamless working relationship between NEPZA and its sister agencies in Free Zones. He argued that such harmony will ensure that Free Zones contribute significantly to Nigeria’s economic growth and meet government’s objectives of encouraging industrialisation.
“Strengthening of the NEPZA Free Zone scheme will make Nigerian industries highly competitive, especially in the light of the recently signed Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA, the NEPZA-boss noted.
He commended also LADOL in keeping a healthy relationship with NEPZA and all the government agencies in the zone.
“I have also thought about the reason why government set up NEPZA; because they are supposed to be a geographic enclave that operates with the same rules and standards of other Free Zones across the world.
He said: “Nigeria as country was very serious and committed to industrialisation and ensuring that finished goods are not dumped in the country. Industrial and logistics developments such as LADOL are key to this. NEPZA would continue encourage LADOL more than it has done before”.
Prof Adesugba was joined on his familiarisation tour by the top management of NEPZA, many of whom are familiar with LADOL, having worked with the Zone in the last 16 years.
Managing Director of LADOL, Dr. Amy Jadesimi, while speaking during the visit, noted that Prof. Adesugba was more than qualified to take NEPZA to the next level.
She expressed gratitude on behalf of the board, staff and management for the visit and committed that they would all continue the development of LADOL to achieve the mission and vision of making Nigeria the Industrial Hub for Africa.