Nigeria will develop special economic zones – Engr. Battah

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Engr. Battah is a director in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, he speaks to news men on the ministry intends to bolster the economy. Excerpts;

We meet you officially sir!

My name is Engr. Battah Ndirpaya.

What has your ministry been up to in recent time?

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has actually done very well, we will give the credit to Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Hon. Minister of State. They have done well; they brought up programmes that have influenced so many things.
The one that can come to my mind is the issue of the ease of doing business. It is having so much impact. We also have this promotion of SMEs, Medium and Small industries and it was a very successful programme. I think those that are operating in the small and medium sector will not forget. There are a lot of concessions; there are a lot of people. In fact you can see that the Vice President has taken the issue of small and medium industry sector so well and he is moving from one state to the other, galvanizing people.
So many concessions are given to SMEs and SME now is where to go. We also have this programme on buy made in Nigeria. As I am telling you now there is a law that has been set up, and meanwhile the ease of doing business was put into executive order one. So you can see that the economic team are working hard, to create enabling environment and also to make sure that things produced in Nigeria are patronized.
They have gotten the National Assembly to buy into it. It becomes a law that these things have to be done. So I am of the opinion that these two sectors were adequately being promoted and are touching lives.

How far has the ministry gone with this aspect of the pogramme?

It is improving, and it is very important for us. One that I am very interested in, which we call project mine. Project mine is the initiative of the Hon. Minister of Industries Steel. Project mine means; Mine stands for manufacture in Nigeria for export. It is a very noble and the issue is what is gearing toward the development of special economic zones.
And you will agree with me that Nigerians are in this state where they are because of lack of infrastructure. So he now come up with that concept that we should be able to build health sectors, provide water, provide light, provide sewage, provide all that is required for manufacturing, so that entrepreneurs will just move into it and manufacture.
In fact the project is of the opinion that – even to go to the extent of building customized warehouses or workshops, or factory for interested candidate to produce and pay back. So that project has taken off. We have signed an agreement Enyi Mba City and we have signed an agreement with Rui, because it has two sides.

Why is the ministry trying to build these structures?

First of all to develop the place and secondly to mobilize and bring in international manufacturers to come and produce in Nigeria for export. And the Rui of China who are garment manufacturers are entrusted with it.
We have created a special purpose vehicle and this special purpose vehicle is called Nigeria Economic Zones Investment Company registered by government and purpose is to get investors to invest into this company that will be providing the facility. So it will be privately driven.
The company has 25% equity by government; the rest of the investment will be for investor which usually we have gotten some people that have agreed. You are aware the Vice President has gone to sign an MOU in Cairo with Afrizone that are willing to invest.
African finance cooperation Development Company has indicated interest. So once government put in 25% they are ready to match it up so that we will have pull of money to be developing these special economic zones where people will have light, water, electricity and all facilities for manufacturing at world standard. And I have been working with the Hon. Minister on it.

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