• Wednesday, December 06, 2023
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Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones got $20bn investment in 30 years – Minister

Lack of access to credit has stifled economic growth – Trade minister

Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, says the total investments in Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones in the 30 years of operating the scheme is estimated at $20 billion.

The Minister stressed that the Free Trade Zone Scheme remains a veritable source of economic development. He informed that in 2021, the zones generated N250 billion in both Foreign and Local Direct Investments; N35 billion in Customs duty payments and N65 billion in Local Import/backward linkage.

Adebayo made the disclosure at the inauguration of the Nigeria Economic Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) new Lagos office named “Adeniyi Adebayo House ”. He further said that the scheme generated N500 million in Pay as You Earn (PAYE), 25,000 in new employment and 5,000 transfer of skills.

“I must commend you all for what you have been able to achieve within a short period of time, as it goes to show that with dedication and the right mix of human capital, of which NEPZA is sufficiently blessed, there are no limits to what can be achieved.

Read also: FG increases licence validity of operators in free trade zones to 5yrs

“Our mission is to formulate and implement policies and programmes to attract investments, boost industrialisation, increase trade and exports and develop enterprises,” the Minister said.

“The Free Zone Scheme is one of the prime initiatives of the Federal Government, for diversification of Nigeria’s economic base, in order to achieve our vision of growing the economy, creating jobs and generating wealth.

“I urge you not to relent in giving your best in your service to promote the economic development of our great country, Nigeria,” he added.

Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director, NEPZA, said that the choice of Lagos as its liaison office was based on pure economic considerations. He explained that:” remember that 80 per cent of the special economic zones are located in Lagos and within 100km of its radius, making the city as the country’s most potent economic gateway.

“Accordingly, this is our way of bringing NEPZA closer to our investors for sustained customer service, to continually attract and retain investors.

“In addition, today’s events are a landmark as we are also commissioning the Special economic zones security unit.

“This was created to provide guard duties and enforcement services in all the zones ensuring the sanctity of economic activities therein,” the NEPZA boss said.

On his part, Adamu Fanda, Chairman, NEPZA Board, reiterated the Authority’s commitments to repositioning Nigeria in the next few years as the number one free trade zone destination in Africa.