By Ikenna Uwadileke
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is seeking support of the NEPZA for the establishment of a special economic zone in the University of Abuja.
The President of ACCI, Dr Al Mujtaba Abubakar sought the support when he visited the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba in Abuja.
Adesugba said that turning the institution into a special economic zone would encourage the private sector to set up industries in the free trade zone.
“We are partnering with the University of Abuja to create a free trade zone.
“Why we are interested in it is that the university wants to practice what they are teaching people and that is why we are promoting this project.
“It is not only to read it in the books, it is also to come and see it physically. It is a very good initiative.
“So, if we get the licence from NEPZA, we will promote it and develop the infrastructure.
“The university has provided the land, so with that and the licence we will raise the fund to develop the infrastructure, invite the private sector to come and invest,’’ Abubakar said.
Similarly, the former president of ACCI, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, said that the project would help the education system become sustainable.
“Sustainable in the sense of being able to raise their own funds for themselves and able to raise employable graduates and also being the centre for commercialisation of research.
“Thousands of researches are done on campus every year but very few get to the market place. Research that does not leave to the market place is a worthless one.
“All over the world, universities look for opportunities to turn their efforts into value and create employable graduates.
“If NEPZA supports this project, it has laid the foundation to address the crisis in education in Nigeria,’’ Kayode said.
On his part, Adesugba emphasised the need for a business plan that would drive the process and guarantee its success.
According to him, most critical thing for us is to ensure that we have the place as a free zone and get it to first class that can be compared to any other in the world.
“We are going to use people within the university to develop something that is going to be a master free zone.”
Adesugba said that the special economic zone would provide the capacity needed to turn the natural resources in the university into wealth.
“It is a laudable initiative and we will set a mechanism to ensure that we process their application for a free trade zone.
“So, in a very short while, we believe we will be able to give them that application.
“As well as also assist them in setting up where industry and research in the university will come together with commerce, trade and tourism,’’ Adesugba said. (NAN)