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NEPZA Boss Tasks Staff, Clients On Economic Recovery

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The Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Adesoji Adesugba, has tasked staff and clients of the agency to work together toward speedy economic recovery.
A statement by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, weekend in Abuja, and made available to The Tide said that Adesugba made the call while addressing officials of the agency during a visit to the Kano Free Trade Zone.
It quoted Adesugba as challenging the staff to make the zones fully functional as NEPZA was key to national economic revival, job creation and Nigeria’s successful outing under the incoming African Continental Free Trade Area regime.
“I have gone round the various factories and I have seen how vibrant the enterprises are, despite the pandemic and funding constraints.
“We all see great products the factories are producing. The products strenghten our hopes that NEPZA is indeed a strong platform toward enhancing the manufacturing capacity of the nation and widening of its export potentials.
“The opportunities and potentials are huge.With several economic zones all over the country, Nigeria has the capacity to prepare its manufacturing sector for the challenges of AFCTA.
“The zones, as we have seen, present a functional model to be capitalised upon to grow the economy, to create wealth and engage our teeming youth,” he was quoted as saying.
Adesugba noted that the model had helped several countries to grow and also seize the opportunity created by the Federal Government of Nigeria in establishing the Special Economic Zones.
Adesugba told the management team that it was time to make the economic zones truly functional by serving as true investors’ service professionals.
According to him, NEPZA must assist investors, including those already on site and those that will be coming.
He warned that NEPZA would scare investors with over-regulation, adding that it must, in real sense, act more like facilitator than regulator.
“Our job is to support the businesses in the zones; we should never constitute hindrance on the path of investors.
“We plead with our sister agencies to understand the free tax and free import duty principle behind all free zones worldwide.
“Nigeria should not be different or else we become less competitive. The Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Federal Government is clear on all these,” the managing director further said.
While commending the investors for patronising the zones, Adesugba assured them that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to deploy the economic zones as a vehicle for accelerated economic growth.
Responding on behalf of staff, the General Manager, Kano Free Zone, Hajia Yagana Hassan, presented an overview of the zone, and listed its achievements and challenges.
She reaffirmed readiness to beef up management services to facilitate more investment and satisfy those already on the site.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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