The economic diversification drive of the Federal Government is receiving a boost from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNIDO is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to fast-track the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial parks in Nigeria.
Jean Bankole, UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office Hub, confirmed that the collaboration was encouraged by the launching of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) in April 2017, which enabled the UNIDO and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to examine the ERGP within the context of the mandate of the ministry and the country’s industrialization roadmap as enshrined in the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
“Accordingly, there was a consensus on the need to develop industrial infrastructure such as industrial parks, Special Economic Zones as well as strengthen the Public Private Partnership in order to strategically domesticate and fast track inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Nigeria,” Bankole said.
To achieve this objective, UNIDO had assisted the ministry to organize a three-day study tour to the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from June 21 to 24, this year. Ethiopia was chosen because of its experiences in parks development process. That was why the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment and UNIDO collaborated to organize a three-day study tour to Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP) in Ethiopia. Also, the study tour of Ethiopia helped to reinforce on-going intra-African cooperation for economic and structural transformation of the continent.
The study tour, which had among its delegates Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, enabled the Federal Government to gain valuable insight on best practices for the revitalization and creation of SEZs as well as strategies to fast-track and achieve the development of Industrial Parks.“The objective of the study tour was to observe best practices for the creation of Special Economic Zones programme; provide understanding on the need for high level leadership, policy consistency, implementation strategy and interagency coordination in the development of SEZ; understand the need for a sound legal and regulatory framework supported by strong and effective organizational structures among others,” Bankole explained.
By Dike Onwuamaeze