The House of Representatives Committee on Commerce has described the process of concessioning the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) as a positive approach to unleash the full potential of the zone and significantly boost the nation’s economy.
The Chairman of the Committee, Richard Gbande, during an inspection of the zone in Calabar, said it would stimulate industrialisation and economic growth.
The lawmaker, representing Katsina-Ala/Ukum Federal Constituency of Benue State, explained that the public must understand the reason the Federal Government adopted the free trade zone scheme.
According to him, it was basically aimed at encouraging industrialisation and promoting economic growth.
Head, Corporate Communications, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Martins Odeh, in a statement, quoted Gbande as saying that the scheme required a long period of sustained funding to yield any significant benefit to the country.
Gbande further said that NEPZA had so far performed well within its limited resources, adding that the impact of the scheme had reflected positively on the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
“We are in the Calabar Free Trade Zone to see the progress the business ecosystem is making and I can say that NEPZA has done well so far in keeping the country’s pioneer free zone intact and working.
“The committee has noticed some of the challenges, which include outside infrastructure and the dredging of the Calabar port.
“In spite of these challenges, the enterprises, most of which are foreign companies, are still functioning and helping to provide employment for the locals as well as serving the markets,’’ he said.
Gbande explained that the zone would be brought to the required optimal level of competitiveness when handed over to private investors.
Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, expressed delight in President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment and support in revamping the scheme to meet international standards.
The NEPZA boss restated Federal Government’s commitment to ensure a stable electricity supply to the Calabar and Kano free trade zones, adding that the recent blackout in the Calabar zone had been addressed.
Adesugba said the government’s approval of funds for the development of infrastructure at the two public zones and two other new ones, was an indicator of the president’s commitment to repositioning the scheme.
According to him, the Authority has continued the execution of the power and other projects in Kano, Calabar, the Textile and Garment Park as well as the Medical Special Economic Zone in Lagos.
“Already, works are ongoing in these areas as infrastructure development remains the bait that can attract investors to the zones,” Adesugba said.