• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Free Zones remit ₦11.11 trillion to Federation Account in 2023 – NEPZA

Free zones remitted over N11trn to federation account in 2023 — NEPZA

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has disclosed that remittances from the country’s Free Zones to the Federation Account as at October 2023, hit ₦11.11 trillion.

Olufemi Ogunyemi, Managing Director of NEPZA, speaking during the visit of members of the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment on Tuesday in Abuja, also said that the zones have also facilitated wealth and revenue generation for various states and agencies.

According to him, in 2023, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated ₦59.38 billion, Immigration Services received ₦828.7 million, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) garnered ₦8.738 billion, and states collected ₦998 million in PAYE ‘Pay As You Earn’.

“Remittances to the Federations Account as at October 2023 stood at N11.11 trillion while transfers to Consolidated Revenue Fund from 2012 to Oct 2023 stood at over N5.731 and$6.415mrespectively

Ogunyemi added that the feat underscores the importance of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Nigeria’s economic landscape.

Speaking further, he said that direct employment generated by the zones currently stands at 38,429 jobs, with an additional 172,930 indirect jobs created at the end of 2023.

Furthermore, he added that the scheme has fostered skills development, with many semi-trained artisans gaining the expertise to start their own ventures.

The NEPZA boss added that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Local Direct Investment (LDI) from 2019 to 2023 have reached $491.8 million and ₦1.15 trillion, respectively. He said that the Free Zones have also contributed to import substitution, with over ₦1.62 trillion worth of cargo imported from these zones between 2019 and 2023, saving scarce foreign exchange.

“Wealth has been created/generated in the Customs Territory as a result of the Free Zone operations. For example, between 2019-2023 a total of over N1.62 trillion worth of cargo has been imported from the Free Zones. Scarce Forex would have been expended if this were not done,” he said

The managing director however disclosed that despite these successes, NEPZA faces challenges such as an obsolete legal framework, regulatory incursions, numerous invitations from the National Assembly, and conflicting legislations like the Finance Act and Customs Act.

The authority therefore calls for the support of the Senate Committee on Industries, Trade and Investment to address these challenges and enhance the SEZ scheme’s effectiveness, emphasizing the transformative potential of SEZs, he underlined economic successes of nations like China and the UAE, advocating for continued and strengthened implementation in Nigeria.

Sadiq Umar, Chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, in his response reiterated the commitment of the national assembly to drive the mandate of NEPZA.

On the legal framework, he said, “if it is brought as an executive bill, I will be happy to sponsor it as my bill, but it has to conform with what I believe a bill should be.

On the numerous invitations from the national assembly, Umar said the NASS was empowered to invite whoever it desires, and therefore urged the authority to ensure it operated according to its set goals and keep its books clean.

“What I can help you to do is make sure you are doing the right thing, make sure your books are clean. And if they invite you, you are able to confidently go there and answer their questions,” he said.