Multiple Charges, Corruption Cost Nigeria $250bn on Agro-exports, Says NEPZA
Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) has said that government agencies at the airports have become impediment to successful import and export business in the country.
NEPZA accused government agencies, including regulators like Nigerian Quarantine Service (NQS), National Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) and others of mounting extortions roadblocks, harassment of exporters and introducing illegal multiple charges on export goods, costing the country about $250 billon on agro-export produce.
The agency said 11 out of 16 sundry charges on export of goods are illegal, stressing that some of these have caused international cargo airlines to prefer flying out of Nigeria empty.
Managing Director/CEO of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba made this known in his presentation, “Aviation & Cargo Export in Nigeria,” at the 2nd Edition of Aviation and Cargo Conference.
He highlighted some challenges that are militating against import and exports in the country.
Adesugba who was represented by Assistant Director, Investor Promotion, Augustine Onyekwere said, “Among the 16 sundry charges tracked for goods coming in or departing the country via airports, only five are officially recognised. Nigeria’s import-to- export airfreight ratio imbalance stood at 87:13 from available statistics. The implication according to cargo agencies is loss of at least about $250 billon on agro-export produce to the country.”
He identified other challenges to include lack of modern Infrastructure, lack of corporate governance, policy and regulation, high cost of aviation fuel, inadequate funding and resources, high cost of operation, insecurity, insurance and corruption.
He said the Federal Government of Nigeria in order to support the aviation industry and stimulate multiplier effects in the economy in May 2021 designated the four major international airports (Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt) respectively as Special Economic Zones to enable the companies operating at these airports enjoy the benefits of the free zone scheme.
He explained that SEZ are designed to accelerate investment in the aviation sector and its value chain, improve the utilisation of the airports, generate more revenues for the Federal Government as well as attract more local and foreign direct Investment and increase aviation contribution to the GDP.
According to him, SEZ can grow the aviation and cargo export in Nigeria with the incentives and concessions available in the Nigeria Free Zones with concepts like tax holidays, one stop approvals as well as 100 per cent foreign ownership of businesses.
He said, “Complete tax holiday from all federal, state and local government taxes, rates, customs duties and levies, one-stop approvals for all permits, operating licenses and incorporation papers. Duty-free, tax-free import of raw materials and components for goods destined for re-export. Duty-free importation of capital goods, consumer goods, machinery, equipment, and furniture.”
He said government allows the permission to sell at 100 per cent of manufactured, assembled or imported goods into the domestic Nigerian market and meeting the 35 per cent value addition.
He added, “Export duty into the custom territory is calculated based on the value of the raw material or components used in assembling the product not on the finished product’s value. 100 per cent foreign ownership of investments is allowed. So also is 100 per cent repatriation of capital, profits and dividends as well as waiver on all import and export licenses, waiver on all expatriate quotas for companies operating in the zones,” he said.