By James Emejo
Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) Director General / Managing Director, Professor Adesoji Adesugba, described the exit of one of the country’s pioneering free zone investors, Anwar Jarmakani, as a huge loss to the Nigerian business community.
Jarmakani is the founder and executive chairman of the Jagal conglomerate, owners of Niger-Dock FZE.
Adesugba said in a statement that the country had lost a “true patriot, a committed citizen, a passionate industrialist and a staunch supporter of Nigerian industrialization efforts.”
He said: “His passionate desire to see Nigeria overcome its industrial development challenges is limitless and its willingness to support the efforts of the Federal Government to deploy various economic models of national development is indeed legendary. “
The Director General of NEPZA said: “In the government’s drive to expand the Special Economic Zones for Development, the late industrialist was a major backer, offering his technical commercial prowess, goodwill and networks to ensure the realization of this noble program.
“To me he is a forward thinking person, an older brother and a mentor whose ideas were to revolutionize the free zone system.”
He explained that the deceased’s commitment to the active participation of the private sector in the country’s free zone was second to none, adding that the federal government and the authority would continually uphold this strategic vision of ensuring that the positive impact of the program is felt by all Nigerians.
Adesugba further explained that Jarmakani was one of the founding fathers of the Association of Special Economic Zones of Nigeria, stressing that his contributions to the development of the free trade area remain immeasurable.
He said the late industrialist fully supports the federal government’s efforts to reform and expand free zones.
He said: “In him we have found a united industrialist who places the national interest above personal business gains and who has strived to promote compliance with official provisions and regulations. “
The late Syrian-born Nigerian investor was the head of Nigeria’s Jarmakani business dynasty and founder / executive chairman of the Jagal Group, a conglomerate that operates leading energy companies and manages a diverse portfolio of investments in Nigeria.
He is a self-taught industrial entrepreneur who arrived in Nigeria in 1963 from Syria and was part of the first generation of private sector pioneers with a track record of unrelenting ambition, vision, leadership and integrity.
Jarmakani started the business in 1973 and started with construction and real estate development and by the 1980s he had expanded his investments in the health, hygiene and home sectors through partnerships with multinational brands.
In 2003, the group made a strategic investment intended to consolidate its position in the oil and gas sector by acquiring a majority stake in Niger Dock, a marine industrial ecosystem today transformed into a leading oil services company.
The group took another important step in 2005 when it created a private free zone aimed at improving investment opportunities and stimulating the economy through industrial development, technology transfer, job creation and Skill developpement.