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N8trn invested in free trade zones in 30 years – Minister

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has said that the sum of N8.3trn investments have been made in free trade zones…

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has said that the sum of N8.3trn investments have been made in free trade zones across the country in 30 years of their operations.

Adebayo during the inauguration of the Nigeria Economic Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) new Lagos office noted that fiscal incentives associated with the free zone scheme are an important source of economic development.

The minister in a statement by the spokesperson for NEPZA, Martins Odeh, said the zones, in 2021, generated N250 billion in both foreign and local Direct Investments; N35 billion in Customs duty payments and 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 also directed that the validity period of licenses for operators in free trade zone areas be increased to five years after temporarily suspending the issuance of new free trade zone licenses in 2020 due to the need to overhaul the system.

He, however, stressed that yearly returns must be made by the operators following the directive on license expansion.