The Federal Government is planning to spend a total of N46.39bn this year on the construction of special economic zones for the manufacturing sector in all the six geo-political zones in the country.
The amount is part of the 2018 proposed budget sent to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.
The 2018 budget has a total allocation of N8.61tn made up of N3.49tn recurrent expenditure, N2.43tn capital vote while debt servicing and statutory transfers, among others, will gulp the sum of N2.01tn and N456bn, respectively.
An analysis of the fiscal document, which is still being considered by the lawmakers, showed that the amount is targeted at driving the manufacturing and exportation of Nigerian products.
Based on the budget document, the amount would cover the completion and upgrade of Calabar and Kano Free Trade Zones, it was gathered.
Part of the fund would also be used for the completion of Lekki model textile and garment industrial park in Lagos, the document indicated.
The amount is expected to be used to finance the completion of feasibility studies, master plan, engineering design, Environmental Impact Assessment and other pre-development costs in Enugu, Gombe, Nnewi, Kwara, Abuja, Bauchi, Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Taraba, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto and Kebbi states.
The Federal Government is also considering making fresh investments in Enyimba Industrial Park, Funtua Cotton Cluster, and Ibom Deep Sea Port so as to boost commercial activities in the manufacturing sector.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, said that the Federal Government was focussed on the industrialisation of the country through deliberate policies that would stimulate the manufacturing sector.
She said through the economic zones, the government would be able to build a globally competitive economy for Nigeria through diversification.
This, she noted, would create new opportunities for Nigeria to diversify its economy, and create decent jobs for the people.
She said, “The government is keenly aware that to overcome poverty, we need to focus on inclusive and productive sector-led growth, which is critical to lifting people out of poverty and allowing vulnerable communities to benefit from and contribute to the economy.
“We are vigorously and strategically rejigging our economic trajectory through an active implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan so businesses operating in Nigeria can thrive and be competitive globally.
“Industrial policy is undergoing a renaissance. Government is looking at how best to align and provide an urgent, coherent focus to innovation and competitiveness. The key economic thrust of this government is driving industrialisation focusing on the Small and Medium Enterprises as one of the key execution priorities of the ERGP.”
She said the government was leveraging the areas where the country had comparative advantage so as to make Nigeria competitive for local production.
This, she added, would assist in increasing the contribution of manufacturing to Gross Domestic Product through scaling up and aggressively implementing the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.
“We are also pragmatically focussing on sectoral policy reviews for areas of comparative advantage along with the establishment and upgrading of some existing industrial parks to world-class special economic zones across the geo-political zones in the country,” she said.