Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is a broad term used to refer to Free Economic Zones, Industrial Zones, Industrial Parks, Export Processing Zones, Border Zones, Free Trade Zones, and the various other arrangements involving the provision of infrastructure and services for industries and companies within a designated geographic area, with the additional benefits of incentives and various exemptions.
Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment incorporated Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited (NSEZCO), as a public private partnership (PPP) to facilitate mobilization of capital and other resources from PPP partners, in order to overcome budgetary constraints to the provision of critical infrastructure for SEZs.
Senior members staff of the ministry in currently creating the template to be used in the company. One of them is Engr. Battah Ndirpaya.
Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) holds the FG’s interest of 25% in NSEZCO. The balance of 75% is currently held in trust on behalf of other prospective shareholders, pending completion of investors’ diligence and documentation and approval procedures.
NSEZCO intends to raise at least US$500million in equity over the first five years to develop special economic zones in the country. The other investment partners are the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
Pilot projects in the first phase are Enyimba Economic City, Abia State, Lekki Model Industrial Park, Lagos State and Funtua Cotton Cluster, Katsina State. In addition, pre-development studies are ongoing in Benue, Kwara and Sokoto States whilst studies will soon commence in Ebonyi, Edo and Gombe States amongst several others.
Enyimba Economic City project, believed to be capable of sparking an industrial revolution in the South-East is a 9, 803 hectares of land, spanning three local government areas of Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Ugwunagbo
In Lekki, the Lagos State Government has allocated a parcel of 1,000 hectares of land in the North East Quadrant of the Lekki Free Zone to the project company to be owned jointly by its holding company, Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited and NSEZCO.
Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Export) which is to develop the world-class special economic zones (SEZ) is designed to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa, and a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally.
According to Engr. Battah the scheme will be of immense benefit to Nigeria and Nigerians, and foreigners in different ways like;
Contribute to sustainable inclusive growth by creating 1.5 million new direct manufacturing jobs in the initial phase;
Increase and diversify foreign exchange earnings to at least US$30bn annually by 2025, by increasing manufacturing sector exports;
Create local models of global best practice in the provision of world class infrastructure at competitive costs connecting SEZs to international and regional markets with transport links, uninterrupted power, ICT, water, sewage and other services to ensure smooth and efficient operation of SEZ businesses;
Promote the “cluster” effect to be gained by locating similar export-oriented manufacturing businesses within the same locality;
Attract world-class investors with strong positions in global supply chains and investors with the potential to increase the scale of operations rapidly to set up operations in SEZs.