In a bid to reposition the country’s jewelry and gemological industry, the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) said it is poised to convince the Ministry of Solid Minerals and the Gemological Institute of Nigeria to ‘jointly adopt the free trade area model to customize the exploration, refining, production and marketing of a variety of expensive gemstones.
The Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba gave the hint as he welcomed Mr. Tom Cushman, a world renowned gemologist and businessman in Abuja.
Adesugba, who is also the managing director of the agency, in a statement by NEPZA spokesperson Martins Odeh explained that the Authority has continued to engage in exploring global business space with a view to to attract investors from all sectors of the economy, adding that steps have been taken to ensure the engagement of key stakeholders to make this noble initiative happen.
“In light of this, the Authority will open discussions with the Ministry of Solid Minerals, the Gemological Insttute of Nigeria and other industry experts to establish the right kind of partnership that can scale up the effective and efficient management of the sector through the training and certification of qualified gemologists.
“Undoubtedly, we anticipate an incredible impact of this initiative on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when it materializes, as new jobs will be created and a significant illegal gem mining in the country will be disrupted.
“So allow me to express my deep joy at the visit of Mr. Tom Cushman, an American gemologist and businessman who is ready to help us in popularizing the Nigerian gemstone industry globally,” said the general manager.
In his remarks, Cushman said the country is surprisingly endowed with a variety of solid minerals, adding that NEPZA’s decision to lead the initiative will help attract huge investment into the sector.
“Nigeria needs to leverage my expertise in forming, identifying, grading and marketing jewellery/gemstones to drive the economy in a more sustainable way,” Cushman said.
LEADERSHIP reports that gemology is the science of studying, cutting and evaluating gemstones, however, the essence of gemology is to identify gemstones while gemologists use microscopes, tools computerized and various grading instruments to examine gemstones, which highlights why this silver-spinning industry needs to be brought up to standard to become another reliable revenue base for the government.