By Naomi Uzor
Companies operating in the Nigerian export processing zones could save up to 30 percent in operating cost, according to the Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), Mr Emmanuel Jime.
Speaking on ‘Investment Opportunities in Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones’ at the June breakfast meeting of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) in Lagos, Jime, who was represented by a Director in NEPZA, Mr Richard Obiano, said
about 30 per cent reduction in operating costs could be achieved by companies in EPZs in Nigeria due to the numerous incentives created by government.
According to him companies operating in the zones were exempted from paying taxes and levies to the federal, state and local governments, and also exempted from import duties on raw materials and other intermediate inputs.
Jime explained that up to 100 per cent foreign ownership of business was permitted; and foreign managers and qualified personnel may be employed by companies in the zones.
He stated: “While the expatriate quota in the country is designed to prevent the indiscriminate employment of expatriates, where there are qualified Nigerians to occupy chosen positions, there is a liberalised regime for employment of expatriates in EPZs.
“This is because the NEPZA Regulations stipulate that all approved enterprises shall be exempted from being subject to expatriate quotas.”
According to him, the government provides all basic infrastructures ranging from electricity, water, roads, land for companies operating in the zones.
Commenting, the President of NACC, Otunba O:uwatoyin Akomolafe, said Free Trade Zones were a veritable tool to fast track industrialisation and sustainable economic development.
He stated: “The reason for this is not far-fetched. Investors all over the world are looking for jurisdictions where they would save cost and maximise returns on investment.
“The Free Trade Zone offers this opportunity, it has been identified as investors’ haven with attractive incentives and enabling environment.”