Association Commends Buhari, Minister over Protection of US$20 Billion Investment in Free Zones
For protecting over 20 billion dollar investment in Nigerian Free Trade zones, the umbrella body of investors in the zones, the Nigeria Economic Zones Association, has commended both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister Finance, Zainab Ahmed.
The free zones have recently come under regulatory and fiscal intrusions from both the Customs and Revenue services, raising eyebrow about potential violations of the NEPZA Act under which investors entered the zones.
But in a letter of appreciation to the Minister of Finance, the Executive Director of the Association, Toyin Elegbede described the ministerial and presidential interventions as a timely action to protect investors who invested in the zones based on the free zone act (NEPZA Act).
The association in the letter made reference to the minister’s letter with Ref. No. F. 18300/297 dated 18th March, 2021 “in respect of your intervention regarding the demand Notices issued to our members, Messrs De United Foods Industries Limited and Multipro Consumer Products Limited respectively, by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), based on un-utilized PAAR value on finished goods.
“We are happy to note that the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammed Buhari, GCFR has shown through this intervention, that it is committed to ensuring the protection of our members investments, estimated at over 20 billion dollars across Free Trade Zones (FTZs) in Nigeria”, the Association said.
The association noted that the consolidation amd preservation of the free zones under NEPZA Act is now more imperative in view of the new African Continental Free Trade Association.
“We are equally delighted that this is coming on the heels of Nigeria appending her signature to the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) Agreement. This will send a strong signal to our members as well as prospective investors in our Free Trade Zones that the Federal Government of Nigeria is ready to play the game by rules governing Free Trade Zones and Enterprises throughout the world.
The group then commended the Minister’s “bold and sincere intervention” and urged her “to further examine some other obnoxious measures being introduced by some government agencies to frustrate investment in the Nigeria Free Trade Zones, with the purpose of reversing them.
It would be recalled that the World Free Trade Zones Association recently described Nigerian free zones under NEPZA as “Nigeria’s saving grace within the advènt and context of AFCFTA”