The World Bank and the International Financial Cooperation (IFC) have entered into partnership with the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to develop infrastructure in Free Trade Zones across Nigeria.
The acting Managing Director of NEPZA, Bitrus Dawuk, said the partnership would attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the Nigerian economy.
Receiving a delegation from the World Bank and the IFC recently in Abuja, Dawuk said one of the bottlenecks militating against optimal performance of Free Trade Zones was NEPZA’s obsolete legislation that was in the process of being amended by the National Assembly.
The NEPZA boss said after the amendment of the NEPZA Act, the authority would be capable of attracting more FDIs to Nigeria.
He said, “NEPZA is ever ready to work with the World Bank and the IFC in giving Nigeria a world class free zones as there are already measures in place to review the outdated regulations of NEPZA to make it more favourable for foreign investors to come in and invest in the country.”
The leader of the delegation, Mr. Feyi Boroffice, said the visit was aimed at strengthening relationship with NEPZA by providing an enabling environment to attract more foreign investors into the country by building anchor projects that would encourage the establishment of industries such as the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical plant.
He said the World Bank, which has the mandate of providing funding or advice for the development of countries, did so with the help of the different arms of the organisation.
The team leader listed the arms as the International Financial Cooperation (IFC); which finances private companies, International Development Association (IDA); which provides assurance on political risks for foreign investors, and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID); which provides arbitration for investment disputes.
Boroffice said the World Bank was interested in how jobs could be created, how women participation in the economic process could be increased, how money and standard investment could be increased and how exports could be ramped up.
He explained: “We are also very interested in the Akwa Ibom Free Trade Zone project which we understand is under your authority’s supervision, as we appeal to you and the authority to give us the opportunity to participate in the project for the total economic benefit of Nigeria.”
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