By Victoria Ojeme
THE Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, says the planned concession of the country’s two public free trade zones remains the government’s best economic approach to accelerate Nigeria’s industrialisation agenda.
A statement by Mr Martins Odey, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, on Wednesday said Adesugba made the remark during a road-show for the concession of the two zones in Lagos.
The event was organized by the National Council on Privatisation through its secretariat, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), with the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and NEPZA.
It was aimed at further attracting investors and their sundry partners to take up the ownership of the zones.
Adesugba said the planned handshake with the would-be concessionaires would positively impact on the operation of the 30-year old public facilities for global competition.
“The two zones are highly viable because of many reasons, including their vital locations, easy access to raw materials, seaports, airports, outside infrastructure, labour and importantly the boisterous nature of the two commercial cities.
“The Authority is, therefore, available to support and assist the new owners, to speedily surmount challenges that may come with taking up the management of this kind of business.
“I want to assure the private sector and particularly, companies that are set to file their bids, to count themselves lucky because of the great requisite return on investment the facilities will be offering,’’ he said.
Adesugba added that the scheme offered complete tax holiday from all Federal, State and Local Government taxes, rates, customs duties and levies.
He said the duty-free import of capital goods, consumer goods, machinery, equipment and furniture were guaranteed, adding that the scheme also permitted 100 per cent foreign ownership of investments.
NEPZA’s MD said duty on exports into the customs territory was calculated on the value of originally imported component raw materials and not on the value of finished goods.
He added that the scheme provided an opportunity to export items on Nigeria’s import prohibition list, provided that it could be proven that at least 35 per cent value had been added to promote local content.
“The scheme offers permission to sell 100 per cent of manufactured, assembled or imported goods into the domestic market and it guarantees 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profit.
“It was imperative for the private sector to now leverage on these incentives as the scheme allows them to ride on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) framework to freely access the continent’s huge market,” he said.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, in an address, said the unrelenting efforts of the National Council on Privatization had made the process leading to the concession of the two zones seamless so far.
The minister said that the decision to privatise them was hinged on the Federal Government’s preparedness to produce world-class free zones that the country could use to solve some of it’s economic challenges.
“Government’s stance to allow for a transparent process that would bring up virile concessionaires, with the right capacity, expertise and finance to convert the zones to national economic asset, capable of generating employment for the teeming youth and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is topmost.”
Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Mr Alex Okoh,said the concession model to be used would be that of “build, rehabilitate, operate and handover,’” over a period.
He added that the Lagos road-show was part of the process leading to the final concession of the two facilities by December.