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Investors worried over FG’s switch from industrial clusters to satellite industrial centres

Policy inconsistency is still playing in the activities of the present government in driving reforms to grow the economy.

Before now, the focus of the government which was never implemented for one day was establishing industrial clusters across the six geopolitical regions to drive spontaneous economic development.

However, the same government seemed to have dumped the industrial cluster policy to establish satellite industrial centres across the six geo-political zones of the country.

Anchored by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), the new Managing Director of the agency, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, said the establishment of the centres will serve as a catalyst toward the diversification of the economy and the promotion of backward integration.

In an interview, Dr. Ken Alaram said “policy switches by this government without recourse to negative impacts and trust on the side of investors are getting out of hand”.

“As it is now, it will take a lot more conviction for several investors waiting for the takeoff of the dumped industrial cluster to come to terms and believe government that the so called satellite industrial centres will be allowed to last the test of time.

Corroborating Dr. Alaram’s views, Chief Ikedi Ajudua an industrialist said he had been waiting for the resumption of industrial clusters policy only to begin to hear about satellite. I do not understand the difference between the two. Am currently confused on which policy direction government will follow next.

Another industrialist who pleaded anonymity, said “Beyond all these policy somersaults, what we need as industrialists are just good and steady polices and capital access. Others include creating an attractive environment for manufacturers through measures such as tax breaks, export incentives and finances. All these name changing or restructuring are delaying the spirit of industry”

NEPZA boss, had claimed that “The present administration’s desire is for the economy to fully diversify and this is the reason the president has ordered the creation of the satellite industrial centres in the six geo-political zones across the country”.

“And for this to happen, NEPZA has been given the directive to anchor this, which will take effect as soon as the budget is passed.

“As we know, NEPZA is a creation of Act 63 of 1992, with mandate to licence, regulate and monitor free zones in Nigeria. Our plan now is to focus on the generation of employment, technology transfer and skill acquisition. Also, we will do everything to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through aggressive marketing

“Producers need assurance that if they produce locally, their products will enter the local value chain, and we are creating the condition for that,” he said, adding that NEPZA will work hand in hand with other sister agencies to ensure smooth operations for manufacturers.

NEPZA said since we operate a mixed economy, the government is required to intervene in the provision of social amenities or services, where it is proven that if left entirely for the organised private sector, the cost will be too heavy for the average consumer to bear.

However, investigations by Business Hilights show that though the policy is just hatched, there is no immediate plan to for immediate takeoff unless it is contained in the 2017 budget.

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