The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) wants the Ministry of Solid Minerals and the Gemological Institute of Nigeria to jointly adopt the free trade zone model to customise the exploration, refining, production and the marketing of variety of expensive gemstones.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA’s Managing Director, who said the collaboration is almost a done deal, spoje in Abuja while playing host to Mr. Tom Cushman, a world-renowned gemologist and businessman.
Adesugba, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the agency, said this was in a bid to reposition the country’s jewelries and gemological industry, according to a statement issued by Martins Odeh, Head of Corporate Communications at NEPZA, on Friday
The NEPZA boss explained that the Authority had continued to embark on the exploration of the global business space with the view to attracting investors to all sectors of the economy, adding that steps were been taken to secure the commitment of critical stakeholders for this lofty initiative to come to fruition.
“In the light of this, the Authority is going to open discussion with the Ministry of Solid Minerals, the Gemological Insttute of Nigeria and other experts in the industry to establish the right kind of partnership that can scale-up the efficient and 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,’’ the Managing Director said.
In his remark, Cushman said the country was amazingly endowed with variety of solid mineral, adding that NEPZA’s decision to spearhead this initiative will help to attract huge Investments into the sector.
“Nigeria must leveraged 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, however, the essence of gemology is in identifying the gemstones while the gemologists use microscopes, computerised tools, and various grading instruments to examine gemstones which underscores why this money-spinning industry must be brought to standard to become another dependable revenue base for government.