The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has emphasised the need to adopt free trade zone model in exploration, refining, production and marketing of gemstones.
The Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said this when Mr Tom Cushman, a renowned gemologist and businessman visited him in Abuja.
A statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, quoted Adesugba as saying that adopting the model was critical in repositioning Nigeria’s jewelries and gemological industry.
Adesugba explained that NEPZA continued to explore the global business space with the view to attracting investors to all sectors of the economy.
He added that steps were taken to secure the commitment of critical stakeholders for the initiative to come to fruition.
“In the light of this, the authority is going to open discussion with the Ministry of Solid Minerals, Gemological Institute of Nigeria and experts in the industry.
“This is to establish partnership that can scale-up effective management of the sector through training and certification of qualified gemologists.
“No doubt, we foresee an incredible impact of this initiative on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when concretised as fresh jobs will be created and substantial illegal mining of the country’s precious stones will be dislocated.
“Let me, therefore, express my profound delight on the visit of Mr Tom Cushman, an American Gemologist and Businessman, who is prepared to assist us popularise the Nigeria’s gemstones’ industry globally,’’ Adesugba said.
Cushman said that Nigeria was endowed with variety of solid mineral, adding that NEPZA’s decision to spearhead this initiative would help to attract huge investments in the sector.
“Nigeria must leverage on my expertise, knowledge in the training, identification, grading, and marketing of jewelries/gems so as to boost the economy more sustainably,’’ Cushman said.
Gemology is the science of studying, cutting, and valuing precious stones.