President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that the federal government will create at least 1.5 million jobs before the end of 2025.
Speaking at the signing of agreements between the Nigerian special Economic Zones Investment Company and its strategic investment partners at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, he said the government will generate $30 billion in annual export earnings through a Presidential priority intervention programme, using the country’s Special Economic Zones within the period.
The President said the government plans to implement a comprehensive plan that includes developing special economic zones across the country and upgrading existing free trade zones in some parts of the country.
He said: “Special Economic Zones have an important role to play in our scheme. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) offer investor- friendly incentives, up-to-date infrastructure and ease of doing business in order to attract local and foreign investment and have been used as a catalyst for rapid and inclusive industrialisation, job creation and diversified export earnings in countries with exemplary development records.
“Under my direct supervision, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment is implementing Project MINE – Made in Nigeria for Exports – as a Presidential special priority intervention using Special Economic Zones to achieve the objectives of: boosting manufacturing’s share of GDP to 20%, generating $30bn in annual export earnings; and creating 1.5 million new jobs all by 2025. In order to achieve these ambitious objectives, we are implementing a comprehensive plan.
“We have set up the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited as a vehicle for participating in Public-Private Partnerships involving Federal and State governments and local and foreign private investors. This company will develop new Special Economic Zones all over the country, offering advanced infrastructure and facilities at competitive costs.
“The projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park,” he said.
He also revealed that the government is reviewing its strategies, to ensure the country succeeds in wooing more investors.
According to him, “We are reviewing our incentive framework to ensure competitiveness relative to the other countries with which we are in the race to attract export-oriented global manufacturing investment.
“We will extend the early successes we have achieved in Ease of Doing Business to the areas critical to globally competitive export-oriented manufacturing operations.”
Buhari stated that following the signing of investment agreements, the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited will become fully operational.
In his remark, the President of Afreximbank, Dr Benedict Oramah said the bank has a robust relationship with the Nigerian government in the past two years.
He expressed delight at the signing of the agreement, which he said will help concretise the work Afreximbank intends to do for Nigerians.