The Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr. Adesina Agboluaje, has stated that over $13.6 billion investment has been attracted into the Nigeria Free Trade Zone (FTZ) since inception.
Agboluaje, who made this known in Lagos at the recent two-day FTZ Nigeria Conference and Exhibition, further stated that about $5.3billion investment was in Onne FTZ while the general FTZ on the other areas had about $8.3 billion investment.
He noted that the return to government in terms of duty payment stood at over N150 billion.
Agboluaje stated that the essence of the conference was to create enabling environment for both the operators and investors to discuss and chat a way forward for FTZ in Nigeria.
“This the second time we are holding the FTZ conference and Exhibition – a kind of meeting free trade zone operators and those that are willing to invest in the FTZ in Nigeria. The conference is also an avenue to educate participants, exhibitors and investors on the essence of investing in the free trade zone in Nigeria,” he said.
Agboluaje further disclosed that the organisers of the 2012 FTZ felt that it should not be a government affair, adding that this feeling informed their decision to organise the conference to cut across various sectors and agencies in the country.
He said there were many states that have FTZ and identified those states to include Kano Jigawa, adding that FTZ in Kebbi State was also coming up.
According to him, other FTZs are in the Eastern and Western parts of the country.
“It’s only Kano and Calabar that are partly owned by the Federal Government, while others are owned by private investors in collaboration with the state governments. Government has libralised some policy to encourage private sector participation in FTZ in the country,” he added.
Agboluaje said the benefits of the FTZ to the country were enormous, including employment generation, and attracting investment directly into Nigeria.
He said there was large domestic market for the 25 per cent of FTZ products in the customs territory and favourable quotas on certain products exported from Nigeria to the European Union (EU) and the United States.
He disclosed that Made- in-Nigeria products enjoy preferential tariffs concessions in the EU.
“In addition to the above, Nigeria’s FTZ regulatory regime is liberal and provides a conducive environment for profitable operations. The incentives available are among the most attractive in Africa and compare favourably to those in other parts of the world. These include: exemption from all federal, state and local government taxes, levies and rates,” he added.
Agboluaje said all approved enterprises should be entitled to import into a zone, free of customs duty on capital goods, consumer goods, raw materials, components and articles intended to be used for purposes of and in connection with an approved activity.
Executive Secretary of African Free Trade Zones Association, Mr. Chris Ndibe, in his good will message lauded the initiative of the organisers, saying that the Federal Government had assured that all policies attached to the FTZ will be reviewed to attract investors.
Ndibe said that the conference when concluded would address all the challenges confronting the FTZ in the country, adding that the conference will also provide an avenue for operators and investor to share ideas, opinion and address challenges of operating in the FTZ.
Project Leader of the FTZ, Mr. Kenneth Odusola-Stevenson said the country had over 25 FTZs, which need to be exploited adequately, and urged the operators to use the conference to express their minds on the ways government can address the challenges in FTZ in the country.