Our land soaked in blood, gloom, South-East Bishops wail

By Godwin Oritse

MANAGING Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, OGFZA, Senator Tijjani Maura, has said that 30 years after establishing Free Trade Zones in Nigeria, the country still lags behind in delivering key economic development indices.

Speaking at the conference to mark the 30th anniversary of the creation of Free Trade Zones in Nigeria, Kaura said   the country is not where it should be when compared to what has been attained by Free Trade Zones in other countries.

The OGFZA boss also said that, although  the FTZs has recorded some significant milestones in the last 30 years, the objectives of the scheme which include industrialization through export promotion, technology, skills and knowledge transfer had remained a challenge.

He said: “The objectives of the scheme which encompass driving industrialization via export promotion,   technology skills and knowledge transfer, job creation,  local and foreign direct investment attractiveness, have however, not been without challenges over the years.  

“Notwithstanding the enormous challenges, the FZ scheme has recorded significant milestones within the last thirty years.

“Regardless of the achievements made so far, the scheme in Nigeria still lags in delivering key economic developmental indices compared to what has been attained by Free Zone schemes in other locations. “One of the expected takeaways from this anniversary is for all stakeholders to deliberate and interact with the aim of evolving a sustainable  and perspective roadmap that will enhance the development and attractiveness of the schemes in Africa.

“The conference offers us the opportunity to evaluate the status of the Free Zones Scheme, assess our performance since inception and collectively chart a growth-oriented approach to improving the scheme.”

“The scheme has been used to boost economies of nations around the globe, while depleting African resources. We hope to change the tide and narrative in the spirit of shared prosperity, by harnessing the enormous human,  intellectual and natural resource capacities that Africa is endowed with. “In order to effectively harness these, we can no longer work in silos.”

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