The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) seeks participation and integration of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) into the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) scheme.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive, NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, while delivering a keynote address at the 2021 World Intellectual Property Day Symposium held virtually, said this could be achieved through the creation of special programmes to boost their growth.
He expressed his readiness to adoption an export business accelerator programme in partnership with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
Adesugba added that a new SEZ model could be developed to allow the SMEs undertake ancillary activities within the established zones.
He said, “With more than 60 million Nigerians engaged in SMEs, the federal government will do good to consider the adoption of programmes similar to Kenya’s to boost growth for these smaller companies.
“The management of NEPZA is willing to canvass the support and approval of Mr. President for definite and sustainable initiatives that can help in the growth and development of national economy through the robust participation of the SMEs.
“In line with our plans to develop sectorial SEZs for different industries such as Medical SEZ, Agro-allied, Textile, etc. We may seek a strategic alliance with SMEDAN and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to develop a joint SEZ program for SMEs.”
According to him, the Nigeria government can deliberate integrate SMEs into the SEZ scheme by allowing them to take up smaller spaces in incubator buildings located within SEZs.
The NEPZA MD with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no better time to adopt creative ideas that can transform all field of human endeavours, especially in the health and economic sectors.
He said one of the strategies and measures to be adopted for export and industrial decentralisation was increasing exports of manufactured goods through the promotion of economic zones with financial incentives to industrial production.
Adesugba emphasised the federal government’s commitment to ensuring the sustenance of the scheme.