Free commerce zones can generate over N11tn, say consultants

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Experts have acknowledged that the nation’s Free Trade Zones have the potential to generate greater than N11.11tn they remitted to the Federation Account as of October 2023.

The Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, in a chat with The PUNCH, believed that the free zones may carry out higher than the document they’d disclosed.

He mentioned Nigeria’s excessive want for overseas alternate meant the nation wanted to leverage its free zones to spice up the non-oil export income and ease dependence on crude oil export earnings.

“They should try to do more because we are still heavily dependent on oil and gas for our foreign exchange earnings and we need to see more investments in that area. In many other advanced countries, it is their free trade zones that they use to generate foreign exchange and attract investments,” the CPPE boss acknowledged.

He cited Dubai for example of a rustic that was making good use of its free commerce zones.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, Olufemi Ogunyemi, in an handle to the Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment not too long ago, mentioned the zones had created wealth for the states internet hosting the zones and generated income for companies.

Ogunyemi mentioned companies, together with the Nigeria Customs Service generated N59.38bn, the Immigration Services (N828.7m), and the Nigerian Ports Authority (N8.738bn), whereas states generated N998m in Pay As You Earn remittances.

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority Act 63 of 1992 establishing NEPZA as a federal company with regulatory powers was adopted by different free zone laws, together with the 1996 Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Decree, 2003 Oil and Gas Free Zone Regulations and different associated laws.

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According to the NEPZA MD, Nigeria’s free zones, numbering 46 licensed zones in 2022, have offered 38,429 direct employment jobs and an extra 172,930 oblique jobs as of the top of 2023.

He added that the free zones additionally introduced in overseas direct funding price $491.8m and native direct funding price N1.15tn and “scarce Nigeria forex was saved” within the N1.62tn price of cargo imported from the free zones from 2019 to 2023.

The Vice President of Highcap Securities Limited, David Adonri, mentioned the remittance disclosed by NEPZA was commendable and inspired the federal government to make use of the figures as a advertising instrument to tell and encourage extra Nigerians to open manufacturing companies within the free commerce zones.

According to Adonri, remittances from free commerce zones will escalate sooner or later because the Dangote Petroleum Refinery, positioned within the Dangote Industries Free Zone, which is a part of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State, is ready to begin petrol provide.

Meanwhile, an Economics Professor at Babcock University, Olusegun Ajibola mentioned the free commerce zone remittances as of 2023 confirmed “something is happening, but it was not a figure to celebrate.”

Ajibola added that the federal government wanted to pay extra consideration to income era because the zones have been established at a value to the hosts.

The former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria instructed that the administration of the zones work more durable to extend their output and known as for a evaluate of the 32-year-old NEPZA Act to judge the areas that will have posed a problem over time.



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