INVESTORS SEEK NATIONAL POLICY FOR FREE TRADE ZONES
DOMESTIC and international investors have called for a national policy for the operation of Free Trade Zones in the country.
The Managing Director, Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited, Mr. Tajudeen Disu, who bore the minds of stakeholders in the FTZs sector, said a national policy has become necessary in order to encourage Nigerians and foreigners to invest in the sector.
Speaking at the just ended 6th Lagos Economic Summit, Disu identified Free Trade Zones as the major step towards boosting the economic growth and increasing the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
He stressed that government should provide simplified business environment with clear cut operational guidelines that are free from bureaucratic bottlenecks and unnecessary trade barriers, adding that also needed are excellent industrial facilities and security such as serviced plots, pre-built factory buildings, constant and regular electricity and water supply, good telecommunications system and specialised security arrangements.
'We have to set objectives and ensure that we work towards them. The government has a key role to play. In most places of the world, the FTZ concept had worked. They worked because the concept was driven from the top. This is a challenge for government.
'Investment is what makes an economy; and it will always translate into jobs, among others.'
In response to Disu's comments, Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said that the Federal Government would soon carry out a comprehensive review and restructuring of the operations of the FTZs across the country in line with the new mandate of the ministry.
Aganga explained that the proposed review of the operations of the FTZs is aimed at enhancing their capacity to create jobs, generate wealth and contribute significantly towards the nation's economic growth and development.
He explained that the review of the operations of the FTZs was borne out of the need to align them with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
'We are going to revisit the concept of the FTZs across the country with a view to reviewing their operations in order to align them to the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President and the new mandate of the Ministry in the area of attracting FDIs, job creation and employment generation,' he said.