Investments in Economic Zones Hits $20bn in 30 Years, Says Minister
James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, has said total cumulative investments in the country’s Free Economic Zones (FEZs) was about $20 billion over its 30 years of operations.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new NEPZA Lagos Office, over the weekend, the minister said the generous fiscal incentives associated with the free zone scheme remained a veritable source of economic development.
Adebayo pointed out that the free zone scheme generated N250 billion in both foreign and local direct investments in 2021 and N35 billion in customs duty payments as well as N65 billion in local import/backward linkage.
He added that the scheme generated N500 million in Pay as You Earn (PAYE); 25,000 in new employment and 5,000 transfer of skills.
The minister said, “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.
“Our mission is to formulate and implement policies and programmes to attract investments, boost industrialisation, increase trade and exports and develop enterprises.
“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 it your best in your service to promote the economic development of our great country, Nigeria.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Managing Director/Chief Executive, NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba said that the choice of Lagos as its liaison office was based on pure economic considerations.
He said, “Remember that 80 per cent of the special economic zones is located in Lagos and within 100 kilometers 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.”
Chairman, NEPZA Board, Alhaji Adamu Fanda, said the authority remained committed to repositioning the country in the next few years as the number one free trade zone destination in Africa.