Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has reiterated that the planned concession of the country’s two public free trade zones remains Federal Government best economic approach to use the scheme to accelerate industrialisation of Nigeria.
Adesugba, also Chief Executive Officer of NEPZA, made the remark on Tuesday via webinar during 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), in conjunction with both the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and NEPZA to further attract 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-years-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,’’ the NEPZA boss said.
Earlier, Malam Mu’azu Hadi Ruma, Director Zones, who read the managing director’s goodwill message with the theme: “Opportunities in the Free Zones,’’ highlighted Evolution of the Free Zone Scheme; Objectives; Zones under the regulation of NEPZA; Free Zones Scorecards; Incentives; Conducive Business Environment; and Partners of the agency,’’ among others.
Adesugba further explained 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 on 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.
According to the NEPZA CEO, Duty on exports into the customs territory is calculated on the value of originally imported component raw materials and not on the value of finished goods.
Adesugba further said that the scheme provided opportunity to export items on Nigeria’s import prohibition list provided that it could be proved that at least 35 per cent value had been added to promote local content.
The managing director, also, said that the scheme offered permission to sell 100 per cent of manufactured, assembled or imported goods into the domestic market, noting that it guaranteed 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profit.
Adesugba explained that it was imperative for the private sector to now leverage on these incentives, adding that the scheme allowed them to ride on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACfTA) framework to freely access the continent’s huge market.
Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment in his keynote 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 expertise of NEPZA staff who had monitored and managed the zones for about 30 years presented the council with these two national assets to concession, adding that the decision to privatise them, however, hinged on the federal government preparedness to produce world-class free zones that the country could use to solve some of the country’s economic challenges.
Adebayo reiterated that the 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) was topmost.
On his part, Mr Alex Okoh, Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said the concession model to be used would be that of “build, rehabilitate, operate and handover,’’ over a period yet to be specified.
Okoh further explained that the Lagos road-show was part of the process leading to the final concession of the two facilities by December.