BusinessDay

Buhari woos global investors, with tax holidays, unrestricted expatriate quota worries remain over FX management

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged global investors to take advantage of Nigeria’s fiscal investment incentives formulated to encourage increased private capital inflows into Nigeria.

The incentives include three to five years of tax holidays for enterprises for pioneer industries; tax-free operations and no restrictions on expatriate quotas in Nigeria’s free trade zones; capital allowances for agriculture, manufacturing and engineering; and a value added tax (VAT) regime of 5 percent, among others.

The president while speaking at a meeting with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum, held on the margins of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York, last week, described the United States as Nigeria’s main trading partner and one of ‘‘our most important diplomatic partners,’’ underscoring the need for concerted efforts to increase the volume of bilateral trade.

He told the gathering that in 2020, Nigeria exported over $1.69 billion worth of goods to the US, adding that these exports were primarily made up of crude oil and other petroleum products.

President Buhari noted that the situation in the world today presents an opportunity for real sector investment in Nigeria. He told his audience that since signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, Nigeria has strengthened its position as a gateway to an integrated continental market, consisting of 1.3 billion consumers with an aggregate GDP of $3.4trillion. He said his administration was focused on developing Nigeria’s manufacturing sector, and given the country’s enormous natural resources, technological partnership is needed to transform this natural endowment into high value goods.

”To drive forward our manufacturing and production capacity, we have developed 17 operational special economic zones with four more currently under construction.

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”Fourteen of these are general economic zones which support export processing, large-scale manufacturing, warehousing, logistic services, tourism, food processing and packaging as well as technology development; the remaining three are dedicated to oil & gas related activities.

”We have furthermore commenced the development of three automotive industrial parks that encourage the local assembly of vehicles for the Pan-African market.”

”Nigeria’s capability is not just limited to the oil and gas industry, but a variety of other sectors that hold notable potential.

”We are the largest economy in Africa and have over 200 million-strong consumer market that is home to a range of attractive opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, light manufacturing, infrastructure development and technology.

”The beauty of this forum is that the ministers responsible for all of these sectors are here today, as some of Nigeria’s premier business leaders who are already excelling in these spaces, ” he said.

The president further said that Nigeria was open to deepening collaboration with BCIU, pledging his administration’s continued commitment to maintain an enabling business environment that is friendly to foreign investors.

”Going into partnerships with trusted local and foreign partners who have well-established networks and understand the dynamics of the country is one way to guarantee success in Nigeria.