A total of 625 Companies with cumulative investments of $26bn are currently operating in the 46 Free Trade Zones that are currently being managed by the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba disclosed this at the 30th anniversary of the Nigerian Free Trade Zones.
NEPZA was established in 1992 to regulate the FTZs under the NEPZA Act. No. 63.
According to him, the number of businesses in the 46 trade zones have grown to 625 by 2022 due to the aggressive investment policies of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “Currently, NEPZA oversees a total of 46 Free Trade Zones, out of which 44 are private driven and two fully owned and managed by the Authority on behalf of government.
“These business enclaves harbours a total of 625 registered enterprises providing some 150,000 direct employment and an estimated 250,000 indirect employment to countrymen and women. The total volume of investment in these zones managed by us stands at $26bn
“We hope to increase this exponentially few years down the line with our ongoing aggressive investment hunts across Africa and beyond.
“We can only get better in our determination to make the agency perform the functions for which it was set up and make it the leading zone administrator in Africa.
“The future looks good for the free trade zone innovation in Nigeria. We again, express our profound appreciation to the Buhari-led administration for the approval given for the establishment of six Special Economic Zones and the earmarking of four International Airports as Free Trade Zones in 2021.
“These steps taken by the President has partially obliterated widely held negative opinions against the country’s setting up only two public free trade zones in almost 30 years of existence. Now, we are proud free trade zone nation with multiple and specialized zones and world-class enterprises.”
Adesugba revealed that between 2015 and 2022, the Buhari-led government approved 13 licenses for the declaration of free trade zones.
He explained that Nigeria is fortunate to have the Dangote Industries Free Zone, the Deep-Sea Port, Eko Atlantic, Alaro City, Niger Dock, LADOL, Lekki Free Trade Zone and OgunGuandong among others.
According to him, NEPZA has aggressively and diligently undertaken the supervision of high-profile capital projects approved by the federal government for the upgrade of the two public free zones in Calabar and Kano.
The NEPZA CEO said, “It is safe to say that the Nigerian economy has witnessed tremendous patronage and steady growth through FDIs inflows and revitalization of local industries through the free zone corridors.
“It is also vital to note that in the last 30 years, the scheme is operated under fiscal incentives that are robust by the virtue of Section 8, 18 and 10 of the Authority’s Act.
“These provisions have made it possible for the regulatory body to checkmate the temptation by revenue agencies to overreach themselves in the areas of taxation and levies collections.”
He noted that the Authority’s and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have robust understanding on tax administration of activities of enterprises in the zones.
Adesugba said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Guidelines for Banking Operations in the free zone will serve as the regulatory document for the conduct of banking activities within the free zones.